The season’s first major snowfall in Southern Norway set off lots of accidents heading both into the weekend and out of it. By Monday afternoon, state meteorologists were sending out warnings that slippery road conditions could get even worse.
Some locals call it a “national tradition” for Norwegian drivers to skid off roads and collide with other cars when the first snow falls. The tradition was certainly upheld on Friday, when trucks and buses also swerved out of control and blocked roads. It took hours to get a taxi in Bærum, and traffic on the E18 highway was bumper-to-bumper, often at a standstill.
The situation repeated itself on Monday morning, after snow that fell during the night piled up before road crews got out to salt and clear it away. Some of the accidents were serious, with a minibus skidding out of control in Ullensaker and hitting a female pedestrian out walking her dog. Several city buses had problems in Oslo and lots of trucks had to pull over at Skedsmorkorset, northeast of Oslo.
Flights were delayed at OSL Gardermoen, while driving conditions were challenging from Troms and Nordland in the north to Agder and Telemark in the south, where meteorologists worried that rising temperatures and rain would cause more problems. The state meteorologic institute issued “gold warnings” Monday afternoon because of the milder weather moving along the southern coast from Kristiansand up to the Oslo Fjord. “It will be exciting to see what rain does to the layers of snow on the ground,” Vibeke Thyness told state broadcaster NRK Monday morning.
Thermometers farther north, meanwhile, have been showing record cold temperatures for November, with minus-29C in Bardufoss and nearly as frigid conditions at Karasjokk in Finnmark. Tempertures were also well below freezing in the mountains of southern Norway, where ski resorts were delighted and busily out preparing trails and slopes in hopes of an earlier opening this year.