Storms spark chaos, landslide warnings

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Strong winds and snow halted ferry traffic and snarled roads in northern Norway on Wednesday. Experts also warned of possible landslides in seven other counties around the country.

The wind caused the biggest problems at sea, with Statoil sending all its workers home from the company’s large gas processing facility on Melkøya outside Hammerfest. The wind had blown the roof off an office building on the island, and  state broadcaster NRK reported that firefighters had to help employees to safety.

Seas were so choppy and winds so strong along the northern coast that several ferry routes in the county of Nord-Troms were cancelled. The wind also knocked down trees over highways including FV 866 at Bakkeby in Nordreisa.

Slippery roads and blinding snow caused problems for large trucks on the main E6 highway in Helgeland, Nordland County. “A lot of trucks are stuck at all angles along the road,” reported traffic operator Kristin Jullumstrø of the state highway department, Statens Vegvesen. The E6 was expected to remain closed around Smalvatnet for several hours.

Experts were also warning of landslides, and police were evacuating the valley in Romsdal through which runs the Rauma River and the E136 highway, not far from the famed Trollstigen highway popular with tourists. The rocky side of a mountain known as Mannen has been threatening to break off for months, according to various monitors installed on it, and movements had picked up.

Geologists feared the resulting rockslide could be much larger than initially estimated, and the train line running through the valley between Dombås and Åndalsnes was halted as well.

newsinenglish.no staff