Thunderstorms set off floods, fires

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Powerful thunderstorms that rolled over much of southern Norway during the weekend not only spoiled many outdoor events but set off flooding and even a few fires. In Rogaland County on the west coast, flood victims had to wait 12 hours to get help from emergency crews, while in Oslo, fallen trees also disrupted public transport.

Thunderstorms have been rolling over Oslo and many other places in southern Norway, and hit a climax during the weekend. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Thunderstorms have been rolling over Oslo and many other places in southern Norway, and hit a climax during the weekend. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Parking garages were flooded in several cities and fire crews in Telemark were called to put out fires sparked by lightning.

“It’s seldom that we see such powerful thunderstorms,” state meteorologist Øyvind Johnsen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Sunday. “It wasn’t a tropical storm, but it seemed like one.”

Torrential rains came along with the thunder and lightning as did unusually strong and sudden winds, especially on Saturday. Another storm system rolled over Oslo Sunday evening before skies cleared almost as quickly as they’d  darkened.

“It’s a low pressure system that’s causing the thunderstorms,” Johnsen told NRK. “For Sørlandet (the southern coast) and Østlandet (southeastern Norway) the worst seems to be over.” More storms hit portions of the west coast on Sunday.

Two struck by lighting
In Langesund, two persons out fishing in a boat were struck by lightening but managed to make their way to shore, where they underwent a medical check. At Bø in Telemark, fires sparked by lightning destroyed one house, heavily damaged another and badly burned a holiday cottage (hytte) in Fyresdal. No one was injured in the fires.

The parking garage at Stavanger’s new concert house was among many flooded by the sudden onslaught of heavy rain, with emergency crews working to remove an estimated 100,000 liters of water. Many local streets were also flooded.

Strong winds in Oppdal tore down tents and other temporary structures set up for a national shooting tournament. The winds blew over a camping van at Oppdal and uprooted trees, also much farther south in Oslo, where fallen trees crashed into a power line along Drammensveien that serves the local tram line between Skøyen and Solli plass. Emergency crews were called out more than 50 times in Oslo on Saturday, four to five times normal.

The torrential rains that also fell over Nordmarka and other forests surrounding Oslo brought some good news for officials worried about high fire danger after an unusually warm and dry summer. Bans on outdoor campfires remained in effect, however.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund