More than 16,000 bolts of lightning, thunder so loud it made people jump and torrential rain swept over most of Southern Norway on Thursday. Around 4,000 households lost power, while many outdoor events popular at this time of year were utterly spoiled.
“This has been a day when the weather controls what you want to do,” state meteorologist Rafael Escobar Løvdahl told state broadcaster NRK after the bad weather hit the southwestern coast first and then moved slowly but surely north and east.
It was dramatic to watch the storm move up the Oslo Fjord Thursday afternoon, turning skies almost as dark as night and then setting off a natural frenzy of lightning. At least one tree was hit by lightning in Billingstad, ripping off all its bark and leaving a gaping hole in the ground. Several church steeples were also hit, damaging the electical systems at Ulstein Kloster north of Stavanger and several others.
Lightning also knocked out signal equipment on the commuter line between Sandvika and Asker, forcing its temporary closure in the middle of the day. It was raining so hard at some points that motorists pulled over on the E6 highway outside Oslo and waited for the downpour to let up.
The worst was due to be over in the south Thursday evening as the weather system kept moving north. Warnings were up for Trøndelag on Friday, with wide variations in the amount of rain due to fall. Heavy rain was also forecast for eastern Finnmark heading into the weekend.