Intense blizzard hits much of Iceland, nearly 1.5 m (5 feet) of snow in one day

Intense blizzard hits much of Iceland, nearly 1.5 m (5 feet) of snow in one day

Blizzard conditions were felt across much of Iceland over the weekend. Up to 1.5 m (5 feet) of snow fell in one day, engulfing residential areas and vehicles, while very strong winds up to 111 km/h (69 mph) and near-zero visibility were reported on the coast.

In Hveragerdi, Southwest Iceland, many residents had to dig themselves out of their homes after 'the largest snow they had ever seen in their town.'

Nearly 1.5 m (5 feet) of snow fell in one day, resulting in total whiteout conditions. In Sigluforder, North Iceland, cars were also buried in snow.

According to meteorologist Einar Sveinbjornsson at the Weather Watch, this was the most widespread severe weather event of the season.

"This is perhaps the worst weather, given how extensive it was and given how many territories it affected," Sveinbjornsson said.

In the capital city of Reykjavik, up to 18 cm (7 inches) of snow was recorded on the Karsnes point. Strong winds also blew off a large gazebo at the Reykir Horticultural School, resulting in extensive damage.

Many roads were temporarily closed in numerous parts of the country.

Meanwhile, in the West Fjords, the Icelandic coast guard ship Thor was on stand by in the Isafjardardjup fjord, where 111 km/h (69 mph) winds created near-zero visibility.

"We are ready, should we be needed," said captain Halldor B. Nellett. "For the past few days, roads have been impassable, and all flights have been canceled to this area. The only passable route is by ship."

The ship sailed to the fjord on Saturday, April 4, to gather coronavirus samples. It was transported to Arngerdareyri, at the fjord's innermost portion. "Of course there is risk involved in sending crew members out on a boat in severe weather," said Halldor, assuring that despite this, the crew used GPS equipment so they were able to sail accurately to the right place.

Thor is expected to remain in the West Fjords through April while severe weather and unreliable transportation remain.

"It's as if the weather doesn't quite know where it is going, but forecasts are pretty strong that it will get hot right here after Easter," Sveinbjornsson stated.

Featured image credit: Pall Jokull Petursson/YouTube


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