Airports closed, bus service was cancelled all over the Norwegian capital and train service was shut down around much of Southern Norway on Wednesday, when blizzards dumped more snow than clearing crews could handle. Strong winds added to the problems.
The latest winter storms hit the West Coast first this week, setting off massive problems for public transport and closing airports first in Bergen and then in Stavanger. By Wednesday morning, heavy snow was falling again on the southern coast from Kristiansand in the west to Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg in the southeast. And then Oslo was hit hard, where the wind was blowing so hard that flags outside the Dutch ambassador’s residence were fully unfurled.
Police and officials at public transport agencies urged people to avoid trying to travel anywhere, even before state airports agency Avinor closed the air space over Oslo for two hours Wednesday because it was snowing so heavily that incoming flights couldn’t see runway lights. It was already difficult to keep runways cleared of snow, just like it was hard to clear streets and sidewalks in Oslo itself, where most people needing to go someplace had to resort to walking, or even skiing.
State railroad agency BaneNor felt compelled to shut down all train service in and around Oslo, leaving thousands of commuters wondering how they’d get home Wednesday evening. Ruter, which runs bus service in the Oslo area, also cancelled all departures at midday, leaving only the trams still running as best they could. Passengers on the normally busy tram- and bus platform at Solli Plass waited in vain for buses that didn’t arrive (‘Innstilt’ means “cancelled” in Norwegian) but a few trams rolled through.
Even more snow was in the forecast for Western Norway, while the storms eased around Oslo later in the afternoon. Police and highway officials continued to warn motorists against driving because roads were slick and many still hadn’t been cleared by late afternoon.
ALL PHOTOS: Morten Møst
TEXT: NewsinEnglish.no/Nina Berglund