Storm toppled trees and halted trains

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Strong winds during the night left parts of the city of Sarpsborg cordoned off and train passengers stranded near Mysen, while reports of other damage continued to stream in on Wednesday morning. Østfold County was hit hard by the storm that also disrupted traffic because of trees that fell over roads.

In Sarpsborg, police blocked off a central area around Sverres Gate after strong winds loosened or ripped off roofing material on nearby buildings. Much of the material was still falling down on parked cars in the area, damaging them and creating a public hazard.

‘Stay indoors’
“The extent of the problem is serious enough that we need to keep people out of the area,” Sindre Dahlstrøm of the Østfold Police District told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “We’ve also asked local residents to stay indoors.”

Dahlstrøm couldn’t say how long the area in downtown Sarpsborg would be restricted. “The wind makes it difficult for workers to get up on the rooftops, so we need to wait to see how we can secure them,” he said.

Meanwhile, the storm that state meteorologists had issued warnings about earlier in the week also tore down trees all over southeastern Norway before it moved farther north. Emergency crews in Sarpsborg and Fredrikstad were scrambling to remove trees that fell over local highways and streets, while the winds also tore rooftops off several homes and sent trampolines and other outdoor objects flying.

Train passengers stranded
Passengers on board a train southeast of Oslo ended up being stuck after the winds blew down overhead power lines between Mysen and Slitu. They weren’t allowed to leave the train until railroad officials were assured the lines wouldn’t electrocute anyone. Crews needed to wait for more daylight before they could secure the lines, and it also took time to reach the stranded train’s location, in a hilly area between stations.

The busy commuter line was therefor blocked between Mysen and Askim. State railway NSB was setting up alternative bus transport into Oslo.

Winds had died down by daybreak and there was even a chance the sun might peek out in Oslo, where thousands of school children were due to gather at midday on the plaza outside Oslo’s City Hall to greet the winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The awards ceremony was due to commence as planned at 1pm.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund