While much of southern Norway was basking in sunshine and relatively warm temperatures on Tuesday, the northern part of the country was being slammed by a severe storm with winds so strong they even toppled a large truck in Nordland. Bridges and roads were closed, ferries cancelled and emergency workers at the scenes of accidents had trouble standing upright.
State meteorologists warned the weather would likely get worse before it got better. Lofoten, Vesterålen, Troms and Finnmark were all getting battered, with warnings sent out for full storm Tuesday evening.
‘Uncomfortable’ to be outdoors
“There can be gusts of up to 40 meters per second,” meteorologist Justyna Wodziczo told weather site yr.no. “It can be uncomfortable to be outdoors when raindrops hit your face in storm strength, so it’s the type of weather when it’s best to stay home with a good book.”
In Nordland and Lofoten it was already uncomfortable to be outdoors Tuesday afternoon, when the winds forced bridge closures and frightened motorists stuck inside their cars at either end.
“We’re just barely staying on the road,” motorist Jan Ottar Oufsen told state broadcaster NRK, talking on his mobile phone from inside his car. He was on his way to pick up his children at a day care center on the other side of the Gimsøy Bridge when it had to close.
Another car was swept off the road at the Raftsund Bridge, but occupants weren’t injured. Nor was the driver of a large semi-trailer truck that was pushed over on its side by the wind on the E10 highway at Gullesfjord south of Harstad.
The storm was also battering the coast farther south in Helgeland. Boats capsized in a marina at Mosjøen and several ferry routes were cancelled, including those between Svolvær and Skrova. Connections were also cut between Bodø and the island of Røst, and the Bodø-Moskenes ferry had to halt service from 4:30pm.
The strong winds prevented airline Widerøe from landing in Andenes and Stokmarknes. The airline tried to organize bus service but that failed because of closed roads.
Meteorologist Wodziczo said the storm would move north and east into Troms and Vest-Finnmark, where waves were expected to hit 11 meters (33 feet). That was likely to cancel more ferries and shipping routes, but the coastal voyage Hurtigruta was still operating on Tuesday.
Sea levels were also unusually high, which state meteorologist Mette Skjerdal blamed on the so-called “super moon” of the past few days, that also was covered at one point by a lunar eclipse. The tides were 20 to 30 centimeters higher than tables had predicted. “There are three reasons for that: the moon, the strong low-pressure system and the strong westerly winds that are sweeping the seas into the coast,” Skjerdal told yr.no.