Rescue crews and volunteers worked through the night to evacuate hundreds of people and limit damage as Voss, Odda and several other towns suffered the worst floods to hit western Norway in more than a century.
In some places, rapidly rising masses of water washed away foundations and the ground under buildings, causing homes to collapse or fall into the swollen rivers. Areas hit included the town of Lærdal, which was partly destroyed by fire less than a year ago.
The disaster followed several days of torrential rain. The weather was expected to let up somewhat on Wednesday,
In the small town of Odda alone, five homes, parking garages and other buildings fell into the Opoelva river overnight. One of the homes lost belonged to Knut Granheim, civil defense leader in Odda, who saw his house being engulfed by furious masses of brown water. “I almost can’t believe it,” Granli told state broadcaster NRK. “I just had to stand there and watch my home collapse.”
In other places, traffic was paralyzed as bridges were torn loose and roads closed by landslides. Railways in the west, including part of the Oslo-Bergen line and the local Flåmsbanen, were shut down and not ecxpected to reopen anytime soon.
By Wednesday morning, there were no reports of casualties or serious injury as result of the floods, but damages were already estimated to tens of million NOK.