Storm sweeps over Northern Norway

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The extreme weather system known as “Kyrre” swept its way northwards on Friday, knocking out power around Lofoten, damaging property and blowing a bus carrying 40 tourists off a road at Hadsel in Nordland County. At least two of the passengers on board were seriously injured.

The bus, full of British tourists, was on its way to Narvik when an especially strong gust of wind blew it off the road just outside an entrance to the Raftsund Tunnel.

“Five persons were injured, two of them seriously,” a spokesman for the Midtre Hålgoland Police District told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Friday afternoon. Police said that after being swept off the road, the bus from Arctic Buss Lofoten landed on one wheel 20 meters  away in a field.

“There are strong winds in the area as a result of the extreme weather system forecast earlier in the week,” Tor Håvard Bentzen of the Svolvær police station in Lofoten told website nrk.no. “We’ve also had other accidents along the same stretch of road because of the wind.”

The British tourists who were not injured were being taken to a hotel in Stokmarknes, where they were to be assisted by a crisis team. Another bus was being dispatched for those who wanted to continue their trip.

A Sea King rescue helicopter that was sent to the scene from Bodø ended up having to turn around because of the bad weather. Bodø was hit hard by the storm as well, with hurricane-force winds reported Thursday evening.

The storm has closed bridges, disrupted ferry traffic and prompted warnings from police against venture outdoors. “We’re asking everyone to stay indoors if at all possible,” Bentzen said.

Most of Lofoten, Ofoten  and Vesterålen were without electricity on Friday after the strong winds knocked down power lines. Local newspaper Lofotposten reported that hurricane-force winds hindered repair crews. “We can’t get out of our cars,” said one worker from utility company Lofotkraft.

The E10 and E6 highways were closed over the mountains of Bjørnfjell and Saltfjellet, the Rombaks bridge in Narvik closed after a truck carrying explosives overturned in the wind, and most ferries and fast-ferries were cancelled. The strong winds were expected to be followed by torrential rains, and flood warnings were posted as the storm moved north over Troms County.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund