Heavy fog, slick roads disrupted traffic

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A thick and unrelenting fog that settled over much of Norway’s southern coast and low-lying inland areas on Wednesday was causing airline traffic delays, while slippery roads were challenging motorists. Passengers were still advised to arrive as usual for their flights, but to be prepared that they may not be running on schedule.

The first snow of the winter season blanketed most of southern Norway on Sunday and Monday, much to the delight of skiers and those hoping for a white Christmas. Temperatures soon started rising, though, and state meteorologists said that’s what was causing the heavy fog that also led to slowdowns in vessel traffic along the coast. Visibility was so poor that extreme caution was needed both at sea and in the air.

Unpredictable conditions
At Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen, north of the city, officials confirmed that the fog was causing some trouble. “We need to have greater distance between the aircraft that are getting permission to land here,” Lasse André Vangstein, spokesman for OSL Lufthavn Gardermoen, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) was reporting delays of around 30 minutes Wednesday morning and it was difficult to predict how flight schedules would develop during the day. “When we have a period with heavy traffic, the delays can get longer,” Vangstein said.

The fog itself was unpredictable as well, but one state meteorologist believed it would last most of the day. Fog and bad weather was also causing trouble at some of Europe’s major airports as well, not least in London, and that had an affect on airline schedules as well.

Bodø bus system shut down
Meanwhile, state highway officials warned of extremely slippery roads all over southern Norway. After days of temperatures well below the freezing point, the rise in temperatures led to melting snow that then froze into slick ice. In some areas, the snow turned to rain that froze upon contact with the ground. That made driving hazardous, with a six-car pile-up reported on the E6 highway near Sarpsborg, south of Oslo. It was followed shortly thereafter by another collision involving three more cars.

The challenging winter weather also continued to cause disruptions in northern Norway as well. In Bodø, on the coast just above the Arctic Circle, a sudden rise in temperatures on Tuesday made roads so icy and slick that the city’s entire bus system shut down. Highway officials around the country said that “all available crews” were sent out to salt roads and lay down gravel.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund