Strong winds, heavy rain and blizzards at high elevations forced road closures or convoy driving just as thousands of Norwegians were heading home after the long Easter weekend. Even though Monday was still a public holiday in Norway, police urged travelers to get up early and hit the road before the weather got even worse.
“In the late afternoon, the winds will rise with stormy conditions in the mountains,” Steinar Skare of the weather service Værvarslinga på Vestlandet told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). That meant the roads could close at any time, just like State Highway 7 did over Hardangervidda on Sunday as well.
State Highway 13 over Vikafjellet also closed on Sunday, not least for fear of avalanches, and it remained closed on Monday. It wasn’t only the mountain roads in southwestern Norway that closed. County Road FV27 over Venabygdsfjellet in southeastern Norway was also blocked off along with FV651 between Tuddal and Svineroi. Driving was restricted on State Highway 52 over Hemsedalsfjellet, with cars allowed to proceed only in official escorted convoys.
Many motorists heeded the warnings and headed for home on Sunday, but that didn’t mean they avoided some major traffic jams. Several mountain tunnels including those on the E16 highway through Aurland and Sogn og Fjordane closed because their exhaust systems couldn’t handle the sheer amount of vehicles running through them, after motorists took the E16 as an alternative route between east and west. One back-up extended for fully eight kilometers in Aurland after the Gudvangatunnel closure brought traffic to a halt. The Rølsdals tunnel on the E134 also closed until it could be aired out.
The stormy weather swept over much of the West Coast, but it was milder east of the mountains. Unusually warm temperatures were bringing what appeared to be a sudden halt to the ski season, with rain on Sunday and Monday ruining trails and making frozen lakes unsafe.
The rainy, unseasonably mild weather was forecast to continue through the week, with some sun in the Oslo area perhaps on Wednesday.