The latest extreme weather to roll over Norway was, as predicted, drenching most southern and eastern counties Thursday morning. Flooding from the powerfully wet weather system called “Petra” was worst in Telemark and Aust-Agder, with portions of the coastal city of Skien under water.
Officials in Kongsberg were also struggling to deal with the enormous masses of water pouring down the Numedalslågen river, which runs through the center of the city. The main E134 highway, which crosses the river and runs along it, was facing closure once again.
Authorities were also monitoring all the small creeks around Kongsberg and myriad other towns and cities in Buskerud, Telemark and Aust-Agder counties. “We’re afraid of how all the water is working its way down to the sea, and that residential areas will be damaged,” Anette Finnerud, technical chief for Kongsberg, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “We are in the highest degree of preparedness until the weather finally changes.”
That may occur on Friday, when Petra’s torrential rains were forecast to let up. In the meantime, the city of Skien was arguably in worse shape than Kongsberg, as the waters that also have flooded Notodden farther north roar south towards the sea and were too massive for normal waterways and drainage systems to handle. A new park that was due to open this weekend in Bø in Telemark was underwater, as were campgrounds, piers, waterside restaurants and central areas of Skien.
For a series of photos of the flooding from NRK, click here, and then on the photos themselves.
A crisis team in Buskerud was especially worried about stacks of timber at a forest products storage area in Flesberg, around 20 kilometers north of Kongsberg. The water was threatening to unleash the heavy logs, “and that can be very dangerous,” said the head of the country’s preparedness team, Knut Skrede. “But we have worked hard to secure the timber, so we hope things go well.” Another timber storage area run by Moelven Numedal was also securing its large piles of logs.
Flood warnings remained at their highest levels in nine counties in southern Norway. State meteorologist Kristian Gislefoss told NRK that another 50 millimeters of rain had fallen in Landvik and Kjevik in Aust-Agder just since Wednesday evening, and that came in addition to all the rain on Monday and Tuesday. One local electronics firm in Aust-Agder had to close and send 400 employees home because of flooding.