UPDATED: Police evacuated residents of some outlying islands off the coast of Northern Norway, after state meteorologists warned that more extreme weather was moving in from the west and was expected to hit hard this weekend. Winds were due to reach hurricane force.
The new storm system called “Ole” is the latest in a string of severe and potentially dangerous storms to hit the counties of Trøndelag, Nordland and Troms in recent weeks. Residents of all three counties were warned to secure loose objects outdoors, moor boats as firmly as possible and move cars away from trees. They were also urged to stay indoors and to absolutely refrain from walking along any waterfront areas.
On Friday police evacuated residents from the island of Givær, claiming the hurricane-force winds could be dangerous. “I think they’re exaggerating a bit, we’ve had extreme weather before,” Ann-Kristin Dørmænen told state broadcaster NRK. “But we have three children and decided to be on the safe side this time.” The family planned to spend the weekend at a hotel in Bodø.
‘Enormous’ waves predicted
The storm was expected to churn up waves described as “enormous,” perhaps reaching heights of 25 meters (more than 80 feet). Most waves were due to be around 14 meters high, according to state meterologist Ine-Therese Pedersen in Tromsø.
The storm was also expected to be felt farther south in the county of Møre og Romsdal and in the mountains of Southern Norway. Winds in the high mountain areas may also reach hurricane strength, Pedersen told NRK.
The more northerly areas of Lofoten, Salten, Vesterålen and Sør-Troms would be hit the hardest, Pedersen said. “We’re afraid this is going to be bad,” she told NRK. “The wind can also blow for a long period, with the hurricane lasting for many hours.”
Worst on Saturday
She predicted the seas “would be completely white because of the waves and foam churned up. Visibility would be null, so most ferries and other forms of shipping would likely shut down.
The storm was building up force west of Greenland on Thursday and moving towards Norway. The worst weather was predicted for Saturday and comes just days after the Norwegian government disappointed environmentalists and climate experts, by refusing to set specific national goals for reduction of the carbon emissions believed to be causing climate change.