More snow snarls airlines and roads

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Another round of heavy snowfall in southern Norway led to several accidents on slippery roads Monday morning, some of them serious. Flights in and out of local airports were also seriously delayed by the bad weather.

PHOTO: Oslo Lufthavn AS /Espen Solli

Snowplows were in full operation again at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen, but flights were still subject to lengthy delays. PHOTO: Oslo Lufthavn AS /Espen Solli

Police warned of “extremely demanding conditions” and urged motorists to drive with care or avoid driving if they can.

“It’s snowing hard, visibility is poor and it’s slick on the roads, both on the main highways and the smaller roads,” Tor Egil Syvertsen, patrol leader for Vestfold and Telemark counties, told state broadcaster NRK.

One person was critically injured in a head-on collision on the E18 highway in Vestfold just before 8:30am Monday. The collision forced closure of the E18 north of Fokserød, and the victim was rushed to hospital in Tønsberg.

Two cars also were involved in a head-on collision on State Highway 35 in Buskerud, leaving one person critically injured as well. Syvertsen urged motorists to slow down in the difficult conditions: “Don’t think you can drive at 80 kilometers per hour even though the signs say 80,” Syvertsen said.

Accidents were also reported in Hordaland and Rogaland in western Norway, and driving conditions were also described as “VERY hazardous” in one social media report written by a motorist in suburban Oslo. Slick roads in Asker and Bærum resulted in police warnings to “drive politely and carefully,” even snowplow crew were doing their best to keep roads clear.

Airport delays
Airline traffic was also affected by the bad weather, not least at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen, where some flights were running up to 90 minutes late Monday morning. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) reported that they were trying to follow their flight schedule but delays were expected throughout the day.

That’s because air traffic controllers needed to impose greater distances between incoming flights because of the poor visibility. Snowplow crews were running at full speed but delays of arriving flights led to delays of departing flights. Passengers nonetheless were told to report for their flights as scheduled.

State meteorologists sent out warnings for all mountain passes in southern Norway, because of strong wind and heavy snowfall. Several roads were closed or restricted to convoy driving.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund