Hurricane rages in the mountains

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Hurricane-force winds in the mountains of southern and central Norway led to dozens of closed roads, power failures, cancelled ferries and general traffic chaos on Thursday. The main E6 highway over Dovre, connecting Oslo and Trondheim, was among those closed to all traffic.

The winds also raged through the Oslo area and Østfold county during the night, toppling many trees and leaving thousands of residents without power. In suburban Bærum, the residential street known as Gammel Drammensvei between Sandvika and Blommenholmen was closed after a tree was blown down, blocking it and taking powerlines with it.

Emergency crews busy
Storms were sweeping in over most of the country and along the coast, with the strong winds hitting hurricane force in the mountains. The communities of Sogndal, Lærdal, Leikanger, Selje, Stryn and Olden were all without power on Thursday, as were parts of Balestrand on the Sognefjord.

Emergency crews were also busy in the county of Møre og Romsdal, because of fallen trees that blocked roads and power masts that were torn down. Residents of Southern Buskerud were warned to watch out for flying objects as the unusually strong winds swept through valleys.

The state Meterological Institute reported storms along the entire coast from Sogn og Fjordane north to Trøndelag. The hurricane-force winds were recorded at Juvasshytta in the mountains and Highway 7 over Hardangervidda was closed for private cars, with convoys only allowed for vehicles weighing over 7.5 tons.

Northern Norway hit, too
Other major roads that were forced to close included Highway 13 over Vikafjellet and Highway 15 over Strynefjellet. Convoy driving was allowed over Hemsedalsfjellet.

Nearly all mountain passes were closed in Northern Norway. The E6 highway over Dovrefjell reopened around noon on Thursday after being closed since Wednesday evening.

There were no immediate reports of structural damage but crews were scrambling to restore power in and around the capital, in Frogn, Ullensaker, Eidsvolls, Son and Oslo. Winds were due to subside late on Thursday, with snow predicted in Oslo on Friday.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund