Norwegians rode out the mighty storm

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Stormy seas along the Norwegian coast were calming down on Saturday after the extreme weather system dubbed “Knud” moved over Southern Norway and lost strength during the night. It left plenty of debris and disruption in its wake, but no serious injuries.

The seas off Norway’s southern coast, like here near Lindesnes, were stormy indeed as the extreme weather system named “Knud” moved in on Friday. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

State meteorologists were able to withdraw their “red alert” warning issued on Friday after the storm they’d predicted the day before suddenly grew worse as it moved north from Denmark. The Danes had named it Knud, a signal that this was no ordinary autumn storm but rather one that threatened hurricane-force winds and all the damage and injuries that could bring.

News bureau NTB reported that the wind slamming into the southern tip of Norway at Lindesnes did indeed reach hurricane levels, measured at 42.5 meters per second. The southwestern coast bore the brunt of the storm when it first reached land, and then it moved northeast, up the coast and into the Oslo Fjord, which is the country’s largest population center.

Trees were torn down, boats were tossed both in local marinas and on land, where some boatowners had already brought them ashore for the winter. As many as 50,000 households and businesses were without power Friday afternoon and evening after trees crashed into power lines or the poles holding them up were torn down themselves. Around 17,000 customers remained without power Saturday morning, as utility firms scrambled to repair the damage.

There was mostly a lot of cleaning up to do on Saturday, after Friday’s extreme weather tore down trees all over southern Norway. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

The fallen trees blocked roads in many areas and even stopped a major bus line in Oslo. News bureau NTB reported that one large tree outside the Caledonien Hotel in Kristiansand fell over a parked rental car. Fortunately no one was inside it.

One homeowner was hit in the head by part of a local garage roof blown off in the storm, but there were no other major injuries reported. Police had been on the radio all day, urging residents to stay indoors while the storm raged, to avoid being hit by flying items, and most did. The streets of Oslo were strangely quiet for a Friday afternoon, but Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported how many people ventured down to waterfronts all along the coast to experience the storm first-hand, despite the danger of being swept out to sea.

Several ferry lines were cancelled during the storm but were gearing back up on Saturday. Insurance companies reported that damage claims were already coming in from customers in Kristiansand, Lyngdal, Oslo and the Bergen area.

State meteorologist Kristen Gislefoss told NRK Saturday morning that the forecast called for skies to clear and winds to continue to die down through the weekend. He also said the storm ended up taking a slightly different course over southeastern Norway than expected, “and we can be glad for that.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund