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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

‘Extreme’ weather moves into Norway

Pouring rain and strong winds were creating millions of kroner worth of damage in southeastern Norway on Monday, as the extreme weather system dubbed “Hans” moved in from the east. Streets and parking lots were flooded, train lines were disrupted and roads closed, as reports of injuries began rolling in.

Water cascaded down from the popular roof of the Opera House in Oslo on Monday, prompting visitors down as well, where they were met by a flooded entrance. PHOTO: Møst

State broadcaster NRK reported late Monday afternoon that a young boy fell into a creek in Jevnaker, about an hour’s drive northwest of Oslo. He was dragged downstream and and then through a drainage pipe, where he was rescued by emergency crews. He’d been helping his parents clear drainage pipes when the accident occcurred.

“The child was dragged around 100 meters and caught underwater,” Terje Reginiussen, leader of the Ringerike emergency service told NRK. He was taken by ambulance for emergency care.

Several homes were evacuated in nearby Gran in Hadelaland after a river through the area ran over its banks and cut off a local road. Evacuations were also planned in Vågå, farther to the north, and in Sunndal in Møre og Romsdal.

The bad weather forced closure of the popular mountain road known as Trollstigen in Romsdal, halting traffic and disrupting bus service. All train traffic through the area on the Raumabanen line was halted for both Monday and Tuesday, as were Rørosbanen and Dovrebanen between Hamar and Støren, and Vestfoldbanen between Drammen and Sande, but traffic there resumed later in the day.

Airline traffic was also delayed in both Trøndelag and at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen. Fjord Line cancelled its 3pm departure from Kristiansand to Hirtshals in Denmark, while Color Line cancelled all its departures on its Superspeed vessel on the same routh. Color Line’s cruise ferry from Oslo to Kiel, however, departed, albeit an hour later than normal.

Water poured down from the roof of an historic building next to a busstop in Oslo on Monday. Several downtown streets were also subject to flooding. PHOTO: Møst

Cars had to be towed up and out of the large parking lot at the Tusenfryd amusement park south of Oslo, as the heaviest rain in 25 years started pounding down on a wide area extending from the Swedish border in the southeast and north beyond Oslo towards the mountains. Red alerts remained posted from just south of Lillehammer to Møre og Romsdal.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre promised emergency funding to municipalities hit by the extreme weather. “They won’t stand alone when hit by natural disasters,” Støre told newspaper VG Monday afternoon. “We’ll help, so that this doesn’t unduly affect local residents.”

Several experts have already blamed the bad weather on climate change, to which Norway has contributed for years through its oil and gas industry’s emissions. Støre continues to claim that Norway is taking steps to avert climate change, reportedly also approving on Monday the electrification of the Melkøya gas plant outside Hammerfest, but his government also has continued to approve ongoing oil exploration in Norwegian territorial waters, also in the Arctic. Berglund



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