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28 December 2011

Norway storms isolate thousands

‘Dagmar’, believed to be the third-largest storm recorded in Norway for 50 years, hit the country, Sunday, with wind speeds exceeding even meteorologists’ forecasts.

Several external links with pictures, video, and information are below. (Got any pictures? Why not send them to us for inclusion on The Foreigner's Flickr account?)

“Some gusts were as strong as 55.8 metres per second (almost 201kph/125mph),” weather statistician Bernt Lie, based in Sandøy Municipality, Møre og Romsdal, told NRK.

Electricity supplies to over 30,000 people in the region are still disrupted

29 people Hardanger, Hordaland, have been evacuated from their homes following several landslides in. According to police, “It’s pure luck nobody was hurt.”

The broadcaster also reports flooding in the centre of western coast municipality Førde, Sogn og Fjordane, is affecting the E39 motorway and other roads in the area.

“The road in Vieåsen, a housing development with about 1,000 people, has been flooded, meaning people have had problems getting in and out,” said Mayor Olav Grotle earlier today.

Rocks in the road are also causing council officials to consider evacuating local inhabitants.
Still in Sogn og Fjordane, landslides have also isolated over 7,500 people in Årdal, Høyanger, Balestrand, and Seimdalen, and reports indicate approximately 60 were abandoning the area.’

One local resident estimated the landslide was “about five metres wide and two metres high. We are cut off and cannot go anywhere. There could be further ones during the course of the night.” All major roads through the region were closed at one point.

In Trøndelag County, a 23-year-old Trondheim man had a lucky escape yesterday after wooden crates and a container prevented his car from ending up in the water by just three metres.

“It all-of-a-sudden became stormy. A big wave pushed the car aside as I was driving, and several more hit it repeatedly. The waves just kept getting worse and worse, and I felt them take hold of the car, moving it sideways. They broke over the roof and windows, I couldn’t see a thing,” he told NRK

‘Dagmar’ has also caused transport chaos, with ferry companies Tide and Fjord1 (external links, in Norwegian) saying they were forced to cancel several departures.

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen), reports the following roads in Hordaland County are affected. All mountain passes are closed except Haukelifjellet, with single-file traffic only.

Employee Anders Oustorp advises motorists to "bring extra clothes, food, and have enough petrol in case you are sitting waiting for a while, as only one mountain pass is open.”

According to state railway company NSB, landslides have caused Bergensban cancellations between Bergen and Voss, as well as local train Bergen-Voss/Myrdal. Passengers from Bergen are advised to use the Bergen-Arna local service, which is running as normal.

NSB is currently trying to organise alternative transport on the Arna-Voss/Ørneberget route. Vieren, Upsete and Myrdal are inaccessible by car.

Insurance companies estimate 'Dagmar' has caused damage for approximately 275 million kroner.

Videos available here on YouTube.

- The Foreigner