Floods wash over eastern Norway

Bookmark and Share

UPDATED: Floodwaters continued to rise overnight in the eastern portions of Hedmark County, with flood levels hitting those equated with a so-called “100-year flood” in and around Trysil. Roads and rail lines closed but officials predicted the levels in the Trysil River had peaked for now.

Flooding hit Tysil, a popular ski resort in the winter, over the weekend, with the flood marker at left showing rising water levels. At right, Trysil Mountain emerging from the clouds. PHOTO: Kari Hagevik Bakke / NTB Scanpix

Flooding hit Trysil, a popular ski resort in the winter, over the weekend, with the flood marker at left showing rising water levels. At right, Trysil Mountain emerging from the clouds. PHOTO: Kari Hagevik Bakke / NTB Scanpix

Wide areas of Hedmark and Oppland counties have once again been hit by spring flooding, after snowmelt combined with heavy rain overwhelmed local rivers and creeks. It’s the third time in four years that the floods have wiped out crops and damaged riverside campgrounds, homes and businesses.

More residents were forced to leave their homes on Monday and the train line between Hamar and Røros had to close but officials at state railway NSB were arranging alternative transport for passengers. When the Trysil River rose another 25 centimeters during the night, it passed the level for the major flood of 1967. Officials said the levels were closing in on the same as the devastating flood of 1995.

Areas from Ringebu in the valley of Gudbrandsdalen to Trysil in eastern Hedmark County were hit hard by the flooding that also has closed many roads including County Road 26 and the E16 highway in Hedmark. Water levels in the Trysil River rose 20 centimeters over the weekend, with officials initially warning that it would soon rank as among the worst floods in the past 50 years. The situation worsened by Monday morning.

“This is a very sad scene,” Runar Pettersen, director of the Moelven lumber yard in Trysil, told Norwegian Broadcasting as he used a boat to navigate around the company grounds. Floodwaters from the river had risen to more than a meter above the floors of Moelven’s facility in Trysil.

The company has lobbied for better flood prevention since 1995, when another major flood hit, and Pettersen said the damage now was just as bad as then. On the eve of the summer building season, Moelven was stocked with timber that now can’t be moved but was in the process of being submerged. Heavy stones were placed on and around the stacks of timber to prevent them from eventually rolling into the river.

In Ringebu, farmer Ole Elstad who also runs a riverside campground saw his property flooded once again. He and local mayor Erik Odlo urge dredging of the river through Gudbrandsdalen, so it can accommodate more water, but state engineers disagree that’s the best solution. They’re still working on a model of the riverbottom, which won’t be ready until 2016. “It takes time to determine what areas of the riverbottom would be most sensible to dredge,” Stein Nordvi, regional director of state waterways agency NVE, told NRK.

Heavy rain in Hedmark added to the flooding and forced closure of several roads around Trysil, Elverum and Kongsvinger.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund