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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Snow warnings posted for New Year

State meteorologists were predicting heavy snow and an unusually cold start to the New Year, especially in Southern Norway. Warnings of as much as a half-meter of snow were posted along the southern coast, especially in Agder, from Sunday morning and into early next week.

Most of Norway had a White Christmas this year, like here in the Mylla area north of Oslo. Now lots more snow is expected during the New Year’s weekend, with a cold snap extending well into January. PHOTO: NewsinEnglish.no/Nina Berglund

“It’s the area from Lindesnes (Norway’s southernmost point) and all the way up to Sandefjord and Vestfold that we’re warning about,” state meteorologist Martin Granerød told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Friday. “We can expect between 20- and 50 centimeters of snow.”

That set off “orange-level” warnings for areas around Kristiansand and northwards, with “yellow” warnings in the mountains from Hovden and Geilo to Lillehammer. Residents of the Oslo area and most of the southeastern portion of the country (Østlandet) were told to brace for lots of winter weather as well.

The forecast included warnings of “challenging driving conditions” just as thousands of Norwegians will be returning from Christmas and New Year holidays. Lots of snow was expected especially on New Year’s Day on Monday.

Heavy snow was also predicted in the mountains from Strynefjellet in the north to Hardangervidda and Haukelifjell farther south. Motorists were warned that roads can close or that driving in organized convoys may need to be set up. Western Norway was also hit by storms during the Christmas holidays that shut down some train lines and knocked out electricity for thousands of residents.

Granerød linked the next batch of stormy weather to a low-pressure system coming in from the North Sea and over Skagerak, bringing with it cold and humid air over large parts of Southern Norway.

The snowy New Year’s weekend is expected to be followed by a cold snap heading in from the opposite direction, the far northeast, that can send thermometers plummeting from Northern- to Southern Norway. It’s linked to cold air from Siberia that’s predicted to send temperatures down to minus-30-40C in Finnmark and inland areas farther south, especially in Nordland.

Even the Oslo area was bracing for temperatures down to minus-24C next week. “It hasn’t been that cold in Oslo in January since 1979,” climate researcher Elin Lundstad at the state Meteorologic Institute told news bureau NTB. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Oslo was minus-26C in 1942, also remembered as a long, dark winter during World War II.

Temperatures along the southern coast may also fall to around minus-10C next week, leading to what Granerød called “a long cold period” extending well into January.

NewsinEnglish.no/Nina Berglund

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