Norway’s tradition “høstferie” (autumn holidays) start this weekend but those heading for the mountains were warned to drive carefully. Early snow and frost were making roads slick, and dangerous for vehicles not yet equipped with winter tires.
The state highway department was urging anyone planning to drive over the mountains, in the area between Bergen and Oslo, for example, to avoid this weekend. If it wasn’t possible to make the trip on Friday, officials urged waiting until Monday, when the weather may improve.
Web cameras were showing lots of snow on state highway RV7 over Hardangervidda, while the road over the mountain plateau known as Valdresflya had to be plowed as well. It usually closes for the winter season.
State meteorologists were also warning of snow and slush over Dagalifjell, in various areas of Oppland County and in the counties of both Møre og Romsdal and Trøndelag. Temperatures were falling and so was snow.
‘Typical autumn weather’
“We’re getting some typical autumn weather, with variable and unstable types of weather,” Justyna Wodziczko of the state meteorologic institute told newspaper Aftenposten. All kinds of clothing would also be needed, from rain gear and warm sweaters to lighter garments if temperatures rise.
It was a nippy 3C in Oslo under sunny skies on Friday morning, with the sun warming things up in the afternoon. Strong winds were predicted again early next week, though, with stormy conditions setting in and also bringing rain.
Schools will be closed next week in Akershus, Agder, Buskerud, Finnmark, Oppland, Oslo, Vestfold and Østfold counties, plus Odda in Hordaland. The rest of Hordaland along with Møre og Romsdal, Nordland, Rogaland, Sogn og Fjordane, Telemark, Trøndelag and Troms will take off the week after, with everyone returning to school and work by October 15 after the holiday that’s tied to Norway’s traditional potato harvest, when children were needed to help in the fields.
Many travel abroad
Now it’s holiday for school students and as many of their parents who can take a week off. Around 34 percent of the Norwegian population plans to take autumn holiday, according to employers’ organization Virke, and of those, more than half travel abroad, generally to southern climes.
“We try to extend the summer holiday feeling as far into autumn as possible and we save up days off for some guaranteed sunshine,” Astrid Bergmål of Virke told news bureau NTB.
Many others head for holiday homes in the hills or mountains, or go hunting for hytter to buy. Fully 33 pages of Friday’s edition of newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) were covered with advertising for timber cabins in the mountains, most priced in the multi-millions of kroner.