‘Scary’ storm set new wind records

Bookmark and Share

The extreme storm system called “Lena” that slammed into Norway’s west coast on Saturday set several new records for the strength of its winds, meteorologists said on Sunday. Hundreds remained without power as emergency crews started clearing the damage and debris from a storm that also scared concert-goers in the Stavanger area.

“There’s been a string of wind records set along the entire coast,” state meteorologist Martin Granerød of weather service Vervarslinger Vestlandet told Norwegian Broadcsting (NRK). The storm hit hard in the counties of Rogaland, Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane, just as the meteorologists had predicted and warned about earlier.

Granerød said it seemed that local residents had responded well to the warnings to secure outdoor furniture, loose items and not least the trampolines that are common in many Norwegian yards. “You can’t do much to prevent all the trees from being torn down,” Granerød said, but added that few reports of other damage indicated that people took steps to minimize risks before the storm hit.

Clean-up and drama
There was still a lot of cleaning up to do on Sunday, after trees crashed over power lines and cars, for example in the Midtunhaugen area of Bergen. Trees also crashed into houses, and police in Hordaland County reported “a busy night” with lots of calls for help.

There was quite a bit of drama at outdoor music festivals in the Stavanger area Saturday night, not least when the strong winds ripped the makeshift ceiling off the stage at the Viste festival when popular Norwegian singer Åge Aleksandersen was performing on stage. “It all happened so suddenly,” said a reporter for NRK who was at the concert. The concert came to an abrupt halt and police evacuated the audience to a nearby hotel after three people were injured by flying objects.

Another beach concert at Bore in Jæren also ended with evacuation because of the storm, after police declared it was dangerous to be outdoors. Musician Aleksandersen told NRK he’d never experienced anything it.

Jesus calling?
“It became completely still for around a minute, before the storm suddenly said ‘bang!'” Aleksandersen, who coincidentally was singing a song at the Viste festival entitled Va det du Jesus (Was it you, Jesus?), told NRK. He said he couldn’t be sure whether it was indeed Jesus, “but it sure makes you think.” The ceiling above him lifted and flew off, as did “all kinds of other things.” Both the band and the public were ordered to evacuate immediately.

“We didn’t have time to think so much, we just had to storm off the stage,” he said. “The most important thing was to take care of the audience.” Around 800 people had braved the weather to attend the concert, and Aleksander said police and concert organizers carried out the evacuation “quite professionally.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund