Floodwaters may have topped out

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UPDATED: Rapid snowmelt combined with rain continues to cause seasonal flooding in southeastern Norway but officials think the worst may be over for now, after some rivers were raised to “red alert” levels heading into the weekend.

NVE, the state agency in charge of Norway’s waterways, raised flood danger on Friday but hoped it would top out soon in several areas. The orange and red dots signify the most troublesome areas. ILLUSTRATION: NVE/Varsom.no

Water was rising most places, Knut Ola Aamodt, a hydrologist for the state waterways agency NVE, told state broadcaster NRK on Friday. “We’re prepared to raise the danger level to red in several areas along the Glomma and Trysil rivers, and the upper portions of the waterways converging in Drammen.”

Many areas were already flooded, with farmland and local roads under water serveral places in Hedmark and Oppland counties. Residents were urged to move all valuables up to higher levels in buildings or remove them to higher ground.

By Monday morning, though, NVE officials were downgrading flood warnings and think at least the Glomma River had probably topped out during the night. Water levels were still rising way downstream, in the large lakes of Mjøsa and Øyeren, but that may slow during the day.

“We’re still in a flood situation at a levels that’s viewed as serious,” Ann-Live Øye Leine told NRK Monday morning, “but were down to orange levels from red alerts.”

Some roads that were closed by flooding were reopening or due to reopen, after authorities in northern Gudbrandsdalen had urged residents to only drive their cars if absolutely necessary. The river that flows alongside the main E6 highway at Fåvang at the base of Kvitfjell flooded into nearby hytter, and the road was among those closed to all but large vehicles for periods during the weekend.

Water levels were rising quickly in the Trysil River, just like they did here in May 2016. PHOTO: NVE/Haarseth

Kongsberg was also under threat, and residents were scrambling to protect their homes near waterways. Several rivers converge in the area, with water now pouring out of the heavy snowpack at higher elevations.

The Glomma and Trysil rivers remained the most prone to rising over their banks, along with the river Gudbrandsdalslågen. “The water is just rising and rising, and there’s also the danger of landslides in many areas,” Erik Trønnes, sheriff in Nord-Gudbrandsdal, told NRK on Friday. “It’s not safe to drive.” By Monday a campground along the Glomma at Årnes was flooded. Øyeren was due to top out on Tuesday and Mjøsa on May 20.

The Trysil River was already above its 10-year flood level on Friday but was expected to top out fairly soon. “There are still areas that are highly vulnerable,” Trine Jahr Hegdahl, another hydrologist at NVE, told NRK, however. “There will still be a lot of water pouring through the Glomma and Trysil rivers. Folks need to stay alert and secure their valuables or evacuate in some of these areas.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund