Cold and record snow from north to south trigger road accidents, Norway


State meteorologists warn that slippery road conditions could get worse as the season's first major snowfall in southern Norway continues causing lots of accidents. In Tromso, the snow depth on November 6 broke a 97-year old record.

Sub-freezing temperatures have hit most of the country that the road had become accident-prone. There have been many accidents due to some drivers losing control, reports said. However, some locals call it a national tradition for Norweigian drivers to skid off roads when the first snowfalls, and it was upheld on Friday, November 8.

Trucks and buses swerved out of control, blocking roads and causing traffic disruption. There was also bumper-to-bumper traffic on the E18 highway in the same period.

On Monday, November 11, the same situation occurred as snow fell hard and blocked roads. There were several serious accidents, with one minibus skidding in Ullensaker and hitting a female civilian.

In Oslo, buses and trucks encountered problems that drivers had to pullover at Skedmorkorset.

Flights were delayed at OSL Gardermoen due to bad weather conditions. Driving has also been challenging from Troms and Nordland in the north to Agder and Telemark in the south. Meteorologists said temperatures and rain could worsen in the following days.

The state meteorologic institute has issued "gold warnings" on November 11 as to the milder weather moves 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," said meteorologist Vibeke Thyness.

In Tromso, snow was piling up and it is expected to go on this week. The area registered around 700 mm (28 inches) of snow even in the downtown area on November 6. "We had to go to the history books to find anything close," said Geir Ottar Fagerlid of the state Meteorologic Institute. "The last time we had so much snow in Tromso so early in the autumn was in 1922."

It has also been snowing for several days in Svalbard, while temperatures have dropped as low as -30 °C (-22 °F) in Finnmarksvidda.

Meanwhile, farther north, there have been record cold temperatures for November, with Bardufoss registering -29 °C (-20.2 °F). There were also near-freezing temperatures at Karasjokk in Finnmark.

Meteorologists added that there would be great winter days with good skiing conditions, despite the unusually heavy snow.

As of November 14, the deepest reported snow in Norway was in Kvitfjell, with depths of 1 000 mm (39 inches) on upper slopes and 400 mm (16 inches) lower down. On the other hand, Bjorli recorded 600 mm (24 inches) in the same period.

Norway smashed the record for the country's coldest October as well with an average of 1.4 °C (34.5 °F), beating the one in 2009.

Featured image credit: Pal Hansen

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