Damage caused by the sudden violent rainstorm that hit Oslo and other cities on Sunday is likely to be far costlier than the recent floods in East Norway’s countryside, insurance sources believe.
In the course of two midday hours, Oslo got as much rain as it normally gets over two weeks. As a result, city streets and even main highways were flooded almost instantly, bringing traffic to a halt in several areas. Water poured into basements and large underground areas like the Jernbanetorget metro station and Paleet shopping center. The fire brigades received dozens of reports of flooded homes, sewage coming out of toilets and electrical failures.
The unexpected urban flooding comes in the wake of extensive flooding in the countryside, as snowmelt caused rivers to overflow. But so-called overvann in cities is generally a bigger problem. Last year, insurance companies covered NOK 384 million of this kind of damage, while “only” NOK 260 million worth of damage has been reported after this year’s floods in less populated areas, Leif Osland, a spokesman for Finans Norge, told news bureau NTB.
In one hour, 9.5 millimeters of rain fell in Oslo. The city of Hamar got 16.5 and the mountain resort area of Beitostølen registered 21 millimeters, according to the state Meteorological Institutt.
While the weather was beautiful on Monday, the problem is not going to go away. Experts pointed out that while climate change is likely to cause more ekstremvær (extreme weather), part of the problem is inadequate drainage in many urban areas including Oslo, and improving the drainage pipeline system is a slow and costly process,