The latest extreme weather system to slam into Norway hit the west coast with such force on Friday that one local sheriff claimed it was simply too dangerous to be outdoors. Trees and streetlights were blown down, tens of thousands of homes and businesses lost power, and a Widerøe flight had to abort landing.
“I’m worried about the people still venturing out in this storm,” Arild Sollie, sheriff on the island of Frøya, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It’s very dangerous to be outdoors, with things flying through the air. Best to light the fireplace and stay indoors.”
The force of ‘Tor’
The winds from the storm dubbed ‘Tor’ seemed to peak late Friday night, and officials hoped the worst would be over by Saturday morning. Around 31,000 households were without power in Trøndelag Friday night, after the storm already had raged through the counties of Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane earlier in the day.
Winds hit record speeds, up to 49 meters per second and the strongest ever recorded on the Norwegian mainland. Many roads and bridges were closed from Hordaland in the south to Grong in Nord-Trøndelag, and the weather also severely disupted airline and boat traffic along the coast.
Among the more dramatic events was the aborted landing of a Wiederøe flight at Bergen’s Flesland airport on Friday. Another flight landed under extremely difficult conditions and a parked helicopter was overturned by the winds. More than 30 flights were cancelled because of the strong winds, and airport officials weren’t expecting normal scheduling until sometime on Saturday. Several small airports closed during the course of the day on Friday.
Prepared for the onslaught
Officials were in a high state of preparedness all along the coast, with state highway crews monitoring weather conditions and trying to keep roads open. Utility firms were also out in force, trying to restore power by fixing lines torn down by the winds.
Several ferries were forced to cancel routes, with Fjord Line unable to operate from Hirtshals in Demark to Stavanger and Bergen. Several regional fast ferries were also out of service for example the Sunnhordlands route from Stord to Bergen and the Norhordlands route from Bergen to Frekhaug and Knarvik.
For storm photos from NRK, click here (external link, in Norwegian).