It’s official, even before the month is over: State meteorologists have confirmed that the unusually warm weather that’s settled over much of Norway has made for the warmest May for 71 years, at least in the vast Østlandet region in the southeast.
“The last time it’s been this warm in Østlandet in May was in 1947,” meteorologist Bente Marie Wahl told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Friday morning. She could report an average temperature of 14.5C (around 60F) degrees so far, breaking the previous record of 14.4 degrees.
It’s more than likely to last, and the margin may expand. A “strong high pressure system” has settled over southern Scandinavia, prompting weather forecaster like Wahl to predict more warm weather through the weekend and well into next week.
It may even get warmer, with temperatures forecast of more than 30C (approaching 90F). That’s downright sweltering in cities like Oslo, where hardly any homes have air conditioning and the lack of a breeze has made indoor temperatures all but stifling.
More records falling, too
Bergen has also broken its record for warm weather set in 1957. “But the summer of 1947 in Oslo is registered as the warmest of all time,” Wahl said. “That’s when we had a record 21 days with temperatures over 20 degrees in May,” she told NRK. “There’s a good chance that we’ll break that record, too, with 23 days.”
The warm weather and lack of rain has raised the danger of forest fires to “red-alert” levels, with two breaking out in Lunner, just north of Oslo, on Thursday. One started near the railroad tracks for the Gjøvikbane line that’s used by many commuters, and it was closed for several hours.
The fire, which may have been started by a spark from a passing train, was out of control for several hours but no homes were threatened. Local authorities all over southern Norway have banned campfires and most all outdoor grilling, stressing that it’s now so dry in forested areas that even a spark from a cigarette can set off a major fire.
Cooler up north
The warm weather in Oslo has also set off a local debate over men who have resorted to wearing shorts to work. Many employers feel it’s inappropriate, but it’s widely considered to be politically incorrect in Norway to comment on what people wear or impose dress codes.
While southern Norway headed into a literally hot weekend, northern Norway was facing much lower temperatures, strong winds and rain in both Troms and Finnmark. Wahl noted that a high pressure system over the south often pushes low-pressure systems over the north.