Oslo hit by hail, heavy rain, lightning

Bookmark and Share

UPDATED: A freak summer storm that literally crashed over Oslo and much of southeast Norway Thursday afternoon unleashed as much rain in the course of three hours than is normally registered in a month. So extreme was the deluge that equipment at the state meteorologic institute malfunctioned.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported that the enormous and sudden amount of precipitation caused the data system at the institute, located on the University of Oslo’s main campus at Blindern, to reject registration results, because it thought they were in error. They weren’t: “This is probably the single wettest day at Blindern since precipitation began being recorded,” said Marit Helene Jensen, the meteorologist on duty when the storm hit. “It looks like we got a month’s worth of rain in three hours.”

The pouring rain flooded sidewalks and streets and resulted in unseasonal piles of ice after an onslaught of hail. Thunder roared and lightning struck constantly for more than an hour, setting off at least one forest fire.

An historic house in Oslo’s Majorstuen district that once was the home of the Norwegian capital’s anarchy movement also burst into flames, shortly after the lightning began. The cause of the blaze wasn’t immediately confirmed, while firefighters later reported that the roof and top floor of the wooden house on Hjelms Gate, just off the busy Bogstadveien, were gutted by the fire.

Police reported problems all over southeast Norway, from Kongsvinger to Notodden. The Oslo areas of Mortensrud and Klemetsrud were especially hard-hit, as heavy hail left cars skidding on the busy E6 highway at the height of the commuter rush hour. A shopping center at Mortensrud was forced to close because of flooding.

Farther south, in Sarpsborg and Rakkestad, residents reported piles of large hailstones all over, creating hazardous driving conditions.

Streets and subway tunnels were also flooded at the congested main intersection at Majorstuen. Lightning also hit a building on Karl Johans Gate, in the heart of downtown Oslo, sending stone roof shingles crashing down to the streets below. Police cordoned off streets around the building.

“We’re in full activity all over the city,” police were still reporting at 5pm. Lightning also reportedly triggered some automatic fire alarm systems, sending crews out to many areas in vain. In Nedre Follo on the Nesodden peninsula, tough, fire crews were battling a forest fire and eventually got help from heavy rain. The fire was not close to any populated areas.

Lightning also cut power at Oslo’s Tøyen station, forcing its closure. It reopened later but metro service faced delays througout the evening.

newsinenglish.no staff