While southern Norway was basking in warm spring sunshine this week, the northernmost county of Finnmark was slammed by stormy weather that was still causing problems on Thursday, several days after it began. A baby was even born on a flight before it could land.
Roads have closed along with airports, and vessels in the coastal shipping Hurtigruten have been prevented from coming into port. “I hope I get home in time for Easter,” Siv Randi Johansen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) after being stuck on board since Tuesday.
Her ship left Tromsø on Tuesday, bound for her hometown of Honningsvåg, but the ship had to turn around in Havøysund and head back to Hammerfest because of huge waves. She was offered a taxi ride onwards to Honningsvåg, where the weather was so bad that ships couldn’t dock, but the bad weather ended up sabotaging that option as well. Then she got on another ship to Alta, with the hopes of getting home to Honningsvåg by bus from there, but the roads closed. She ended up sailing back to Hammerfest.
Passengers on board many of the Hurtigruten ships have been terribly seasick because of the rocking and rolling seas. “The tourists are very frustrated,” Johansen told NRK. “They can’t understand how bad the weather can be up here.”
Flights have also been cancelled and there was drama on board an ambulance flight carrying a highly pregnant woman from Vadsø in Eastern Finnmark to the hospital in Kirkenes. “We normally would have driven, but many of the roads were closed,” Håkon Aleksander Børresen told NRK. With the birth imminent, they ended up being flown in an ambulance flight over the relatively short distance across the fjord to Kirkenes.
In mid-flight over the Varangerfjord, however, the midwife who had managed to reach the flight right after attending to another birth in Tana announced that the “the baby is coming” before the flight could land at Kirkenes. The pilot circled up to a higher elevation where the turbulence was less. The baby boy was born at an elevation of several thousand meters between Vadsø and Kirkenes and his parents say they will name him Storm.