Norway pounded by rain and hail

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Large areas of southern Norway were pounded on Monday by torrential rain and hail stones as big as golf balls, some of which cracked automobile windshields. State meteorologists warned that more extreme weather was in the forecast as a “super cell” of a low pressure system bore down on the country from Sweden.

Eastern Hedmark County was especially hard-hit as weeks of hot weather suddenly gave way to strong winds and driving rain that toppled trees and tore the roof off at least one barn. Motorist Tom Sønsteby was trapped on the E16 highway at Øyermoen near the Swedish border east of Kongsvinger after large trees fell over the road both in front of his car and behind it.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Sønsteby told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It was like a tornado, and trees were flying through the air.”

‘Like being shot at’
Sønsteby wasn’t alone, as a Finnish truck driver and a few other cars were hemmed in on the highway as well. “It was impossible to get around the trees,” Sønsteby said, as he and other motorists had to wait for emergency crews to clear the debris.

The violent weather also damaged several cars with hailstones that literally pounded them in the Kongsvinger area. “It sounded ike the car was being shot at,” said motorist Kjell Snerten. “I was afraid the entire windshield would shatter.”

He was driving from Rendalen towards Elverum when the storm hit and when he finally felt safe enough to get out of the car, he could see it was riddled with dents. “I hope the insurance company will cover this,” he told NRK.

Power failures were reported in Vestre Toten, Åmot, Trysil, Engerdal, Våler, Åsnes, Grue, Konsgsvinger, Eidsskog, Hamar and Ringsaker. Heavy rain also poured down on the Oslo area in the late afternoon and flooding was reported in several areas.

Hot weather stirred up ‘super cells’
Temperatures remained high throughout most of the storm in Oslo and followed more torrential rain that fell farther farther south in Østfold County on Sunday. It forced cancellation of a premier league football match in Sarpsborg while lightning and thunder hit frequently all over southeastern Norway both Sunday and Monday.

Weather experts said the so-called “super cells” of unusually violent weather moved in from Sweden and were heading north. It’s not often Norwegian meteorologists warn of the “super cells” but they did on Monday, cautioning that they contain more rain, more wind, bigger hail and more intense thunderstorms.

“A ‘super cell’ is made up of thunderstorms that organize themselves,” meteorologist Vibeke Thyness told weather site yr.no. “Together they’re more powerful and they can live for several hours.”

They’re more common in inland areas of Finland and Russia, but Norway has had a lot of warm air lately and they built up. Forecasters warned that Nord-Trøndelag and Nordland counties would be the next to expect severe weather as the cells moved north.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund