Hurricane-force winds swept over much of Northern Norway on Monday, tearing down some buildings, throwing boats up on roads and leaving thousands of people without power. Police called on residents to stay indoors and seek cover.
Transport ground to a halt, with most all flights, ferry and shipping routes cancelled. Airports in Tromsø, Bodø and Evenes (serving Narvik and Harstad) were hit hardest, but so were all the smaller airports after airline Widerøe cancelled all its flights north of Trondheim.
The coastal voyage lines Hurtigruten and Havila also kept most all their ships in port and cancelled departures after forecasts, later realized, called for high waves and strong winds gusting at up to 32 meters per second (m/s) or more. Winds were clocked at 38m/s at Bø in Vesterålen, at 41.8m/s on the island of Værøy and 35m/s at Lofoten’s airport at Leknes. Stunned researchers even recorded 64.1m/s at Tverrfjellet in Glomfjord
“We’ve never seen such strong winds registered along the coast,” wrote state meteorologist Eirik Samuelsen on social media. Some of them blew the roof off the local government’s building at Hamarøy, but there were no injuries.
The winds also set off several avalanches, for example on the RV 85 highway leading to Kvæfjord and its ferry port, cutting off access to Vesterålen. The main E6 highway over Saltfjellet in Nordland County and several homes were evacuated on Lofoten, also because of rising seas that threatened flooding.