After an unusually warm summer, winter arrived suddenly in several areas of Northern Norway on Monday. Snow fell in both the northern counties of Troms and Finnmark, leading to slippery roads, cancelled bus routes and a need to de-ice aircraft.
“It’s not a record early snowfall, since it snowed in Tromsø on September 5 back in the early 1970s,” meterologist Hanneke Luijting told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It’s nonetheless unusual that snowfall remains on the ground this early.”
Luijting could note that the last snow fell on Tromsø in late June, just before the warm weather set in. “So you can say that we had a short summer this year,” she laughed.
Luijting reported that nine centimeters (three-and-a-half inches) fell on Tromsø during the night and were still sitting there Monday morning. That resulted in a few car accidents and warnings for motorists to drive carefully or not at all, since few if any have switched to winter tires yet.
Snowplowing vehicles worked through the night to keep the E6 highway open over the mountain pass at Kvænangsfjellet because of heavy snowfall, and the city of Alta was also covered in white on Monday morning. Police were issuing warnings to motorists throughout Finnmark, with more snow expected throughout the day.
Prospects bright for fall holidays
It was all a huge contrast to the high temperatures of 20C (68F) just two days ago in the local valley of Tromsdalen. Meteorologists, meanwhile, reported that the upcoming weeks of autumn school holidays will likely be characterized by sunny and relatively warm weather, at least in southeastern Norway.
Schools in Norway traditionally close for a week of holidays that in earlier decades was used to get help from children during annual potato harvests. Now the closure amounts just to a week off, with schools in Akershus, Aust-Agder, Buskerud, Oslo, Oppland, Vest-Agder, Vestfold and Østfold closed next week. Schools in other counties along the west coast and farther north will close the week after.
The weather in the west and north is predicted to be grey and possibly wet, but those living south and east of the mountains are due for sunshine and temperatures of around 15-17C, with forecasts good for the upcoming weekend. “The weather will be more autumn-like than it has been up until now,” cautioned meteorologist Mariann Foss, though. A strong and cold north wind blew over Oslo Monday morning, but it died down during the afternoon and the sun was shining brightly.