Storms sabotage Easter holidays

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Many Norwegians ended up dropping their plans to spend the Easter holiday week in the mountains after strong winds and snowstorms closed roads or caused long delays because travel was only allowed in convoys. State meteorologists predicted the bad weather may improve a bit later in the week.

State highway crews tried to keep the E134 highway over Haukelifjell open on Sunday but had to enforce convoy driving because of strong winds and drifting snow. PHOTO: Statens Vegvesen

State highway crews tried to keep the E134 highway over Haukelifjell open on Sunday but had to enforce convoy driving because of strong winds and drifting snow. PHOTO: Statens Vegvesen

Several of the main highways over the mountains of southern Norway closed over the weekend including RV7 over the mountain plateau Hardangervidda, RV13 over Vikafjellet, County Highway 50 between Hol and Aurland and County Highway 53 between Tyin and Årdal.

The snow was drifting so badly in other areas, because of the strong winds, that state highway offcials only allowed cars over the mountains in convoys led by a snowplow. Convoy driving was enforced on the E134 Highway over Haukelifjell, the E16 Highway over Filefjell and State Highway 15 over Strynefjellet. Delays getting over to Stryn amounted to around two-and-a-half hours on Sunday afternoon.

That prompted many to drop their plans for traditional Easter skiing in the mountains. Strong winds also caused problems over mountains at Ringebu and in Rondane, where many cancelled reservations at the highly popular mountain lodges run by the national trekking association DNT.

“There’s a lot of wind in the mountains right now,” state meteorologist Anne Mette Olsen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It’s  a storm from the west but it may die down tonight (Sunday night).”

It was also snowing at elevations as low as 200 to 300 meters, prompting warnings for skiers of hazardous conditions on the trails because of poor visibility.

It was also windy in the Oslo area, but rain on Saturday turned into blue skies late in the afternoon on Sunday. Sunshine was also predicted for early in the week, with southeastern Norway expected to get the best weather during the Easter holidays even though there’s little if any snow left at lower elevations for spring skiing.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund