Hurricane pounded north and south

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Insurance companies were reporting a wave of damage claims on Monday after the extreme weather system dubbed Ole slammed into central and northern Norway over the weekend. The storm, packing hurricane-force winds, left at least 10 people homeless and as many as 70,ooo were without electricity but there were few injuries.

Lofoten and Vesterålen were, as predicted in the storm warnings issued last week, hit the hardest and hundreds of residents remained without power Monday morning. Officials at the Hålogaland Police District, covering the area from northern Nordland County to southern Troms, said they’d received damage reports from all its regions.

Roof blew off
“More than 70 percent of the reports involve roof damage,” Magne Hugo Nilsen, acting police chief, told news bureau NTB. Three families had to leave their homes in Lofoten after the winds literally blew the roof off their houses.

The storm closed bridges and roads, forced cancellation of ferries and all but shut down the “Arctic capital” of Tromsø when it hit late in the afternoon after earlier raging over Bodø and Harstad farther to the south. Tromsø’s popular downtown area was nearly empty of people, who’d all been warned to stay indoors. Eight of the nine Hurtigruten ships that ply the Norwegian coast had to stop sailing and seek shelter in the nearest harbours.

The storm also extended as far south as Oppland County, closing most mountain roads again because of hurricane-force winds. Ski lifts shut down at Kvitfjell and other popular mountain resorts, while the annual dog sled race Femundløpet was cancelled, but not before several participants already had taken off and then were reported missing.

Teenager survived storm alone with her dogs
Among the missing racers was 15-year-old musher Hanna Lyrek, who ended up spending 12 hours out in the storm alone with her dogs before she was found by search and rescue crews.

“I wondered if I was still dreaming when I heard the voices of the folks who found me,” Lyrek told newspaper Aftenposten. “It was a learning experience. After this I’ll be able to tackle most things.” She was cold and wet but otherwise in good shape. Six other race participants and a missing snow-mobile driver were also found after an all-night search in the blizzard that was kicked up by the storm in the Femund area of eastern Hedmark County, south of Røros.

While the storm abated on Sunday, officials were warning of severe avalanche danger all over Norway. “We advise people to say away from steep areas,” Solveig Kosberg of state agency NVE told NTB. The most dangerous areas were said to be in the counties of Nordland and Nord-Trøndelag, but warnings were also posted in the mountains of both southern and northern Norway.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund