Just as thousands of Norwegians were set to head off on Wednesday for a long holiday weekend, many of them woke up to more snow. State meteorologists were warning against driving up to the mountains, or over them.
“There are several centimeters of snow on the ground and we’re back to real winter driving conditions,” Laila Olsen, who needed to travel over the mountains at Bremanger in Sogn og Fjordane on Wednesday, told state broadcaster NRK. She said her bus was lucky it didn’t meet any oncoming traffic: the road wasn’t wide enough to pass without risking a slide into the ditch on the slippery pavement.
The snow took the state highway department by surprise, and no snow-clearing crews were ready to start plowing again. “It takes a while to mount all the plows and equipment to spread gravel on the road,” said Ronny Sleire of the state traffic central in Bergen. “If this weather continues, we won’t be ready until this evening.”
One woman in Trøndelag, who woke up to 10 centimeters of new snow in her garden, found the return of winter “depressing” at the end of May. Practical challenges also faced residents all over the mountains of southern Norway, in Hedmark and parts of Nordland County.
Even those cars still equipped with winter tires faced driving hazards because of slick roads “Everyone with summer tires on their cars should just stay home,” advised state meteorologist Kristin Sæther.
The snow came a day before Thursday’s national Ascension Day holiday in Norway, called Kristi himmelfartsdag. Since many also take Friday off work, it’s traditionally known as a long weekend when many open up summer holiday homes. There was no snow reported along the coast, but temperatures fell into the single digits also in the Oslo area, with a brisk wind blowing from the northwest.