Strong winds and heavy rain set off more flooding and landslides at low elevations along Norway’s West Coast on Saturday. Blizzards at higher elevations forced closure of most mountain highways, disrupting travel plans for many trying to get home for Christmas.
State broadcaster NRK reported that at least one community was left isolated after rocks crashed down on the E134 highway at Kyrping in Etne in Hordaland. “We’ve had between 80 and 90 calls for help,” Håkon Myking of Hordaland County’s emergency services told NRK. Myking said residents were reporting flooded cellars and flooded roads.
The extreme weather system moving in from the North Sea was dubbed “Birk,” with up to 150 millimeters of rain expected in Hordaland and Rogaland counties. The bad weather was affecting all of the region known as Vestlandet, though, with warnings posted for heavy rain and flooding in Sogn og Fjordane and Møre og Romsdal as well.
A cargo vessel also grounded in the stormy weather off Averøy Saturday morning, forcing the evacuation of its crew of seven by a rescue helicopter sent from Kristiansund. No one was injured.