Warmer winter weather turned fatal

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After an extended period of bitterly cold temperatures, thermometers rose especially in southern Norway over the weekend. Fresh snow that turned to rain in some areas, however, led to slippery roads and extremely hazardous driving conditions from north to south.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported multiple accidents and traffic that could only be described as chaotic. It turned fatal on Sunday, with a fatal accident and several injured in Hordaland in western Norway. Two persons died in the collision at Fusa on Sunday afternoon.

Closed roads and train line
Police considered closing the main E-39 highway through Vest-Agder and Rogaland counties in southwestern Norway on Sunday because of the difficult driving conditions, especially between Helleland and Moi. It stayed open, though, and the train line connecting Stavanger, Kristiansand and Oslo (Sørlandsbanen) re-opened around 5pm after being closed since Friday. Trains had to run much more slowly that normal, however, because of strong winds that caused the line’s overhead lines to sway dramatically.

Motorists were advised against driving over the mountains and some roads closed. Convoys were organized on the E134 highway over Haukelifjell, a main east-west artery in southern Norway.

Accidents galore
There were accidents all over the country as cars and trucks alike spun out of control despite the use of winter tires and experienced motorists behind the wheels. Several cars ran off roads in Oslo, Drammen and the Agder counties. In Elverum in eastern Norway, cars driving behind another that developed engine trouble failed to stop on the slick roads and four of them landed in the ditch.

Police received complaints of poor road clearance but emergency vehicles were also having trouble in the difficult winter weather. It wasn’t restricted to the roads either, with a charter flight from Tenerife skidding off a slippery runway when it landed at the Kjevik airport in Kristiansand. No one was injured.

Police were urging caution with more wintry weather and slick roads expected through Monday and much of the rest of the week.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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