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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Early autumn storm was destructive

UPDATED: An early autumn storm swept over Southern Norway as predicted on Friday and left quite a bit of damage in its wake. Police in the Oslo area were so overwhelmed by calls for help that they asked the public to refrain from picking up the phone unless they were in a life-threatening situation.

This tree was one of may torn down by the strong winds on Friday. Residents of the Vika neighbourhood in Oslo had lots of debris to clean up. PHOTO:

Parts of a roof were torn off a building in Sandefjord, huge waves pounded the coast of Vestfold and scaffolding around a building at the lower end of Tollbudgata in downtown Oslo was on the verge of entirely collapsing. Police evacuated nearby buildings and cordoned off the area, which in turn halted bus and tram lines at the height of the commuter rush hour. The area was still closed to the public on Saturday, because emergency crews had been unable to secure the site.

The strong winds and rain forecast for Friday afternoon caused tens of millions of kroner worth of damage, insurance companies reported during the weekend. Trees were knocked down all over Akershus, also in Oslo, and reports were coming in that wall coverings on the Opera House had also loosened.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that at least 30,000 were without power in the Oslo area Friday evening and that several mobile telephone stations had blown down, cutting out phone coverage for thousands of people. It was unclear when power would be restored or the base stations repaired. Thousands remained without power on Saturday.

The normally calm Oslo Fjord became treacherous, with all the area’s search and rescue boats out on emergency calls at one point. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

Several train lines were halted because of the strong winds and fallen trees over railroad tracks. They included Østfoldbanen between Sarpsborg and Ed i Sweden, Gjøvikbanen between Roa and Gjøvik through Hadeland and Kongsvingerbanen between Lillestrøm and Kongsvinger.

Color Line and Fjordline cancelled several ferries running between Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Color Line’s cruise ferry from Oslo to Kiel left Oslo only slightly delayed Friday afternoon, however, despite extremely stormy seas on the Oslofjord, and its sistership arrived safely and on time Saturday morning. All other boats were warned against venturing out. “Only idiots would go out in this weather,” one fishing boat owner told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

Winds were so strong in Oslo that they ripped apart the scaffolding around a building getting a new roof. Police cordoned off a wide area for fear of flying objects that could seriously injure people on the ground. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

Power outages were reported in Sandvika, Lillestrøm, Eidsvoll, Jessheim  and Drøbak. The winds also blew roof plates off the control tower at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen, damaging parked cars below.

State meteorologists maintained high-level “orange” warnings for Vest-Agder, Aust-Agder, Telemark, Buskerud, Akershus, Oslo, Hedmark and Oppland counties, and advised people to remain indoors. The storm moved towards the northeast during the night and was pounding Tromsø in Northern Norway on Saturday, but now quite as hard. Berglund



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