Friday, February 28News For London

Heaviest storm in Icelandic history

Heavy storm over Icelandic south coast. Image by Juliane Sonntag

A bombogenisis (fast evolving) cyclone hit Iceland last night, causing damage throughout the country and cutting off the island.

Up to 118 mph was the predicted wind speed by forecasts along with heavy snowfall. The air pressure dropped from 1005 hPa to 980 in only 19 hours before the storm hit the country.

Drop of air pressure in Keflavík. Source: severe-weather.eu, graph by Juliane Sonntag

The weather alert was set to yellow, orange and even red. It was the first time in Icelandic history that a weather warning of the highest level was released since the new weather alert system had been introduced several years ago.

The red alert affected the region of the Westfjords, a very exposed area in the northwest of Iceland, where the storm was suspected to be the worst. People in the whole country were advised to stay home. Forecasters especially recommended to avoid driving, as most roads are very exposed and dangerous during heavy winds.

In towns in the northwest and north, people faced brief power breakdowns. Fortunately, most of the affected Icelanders were able to connect to emergency power supplies. The Kópasker power line however suffered heavy under the storm, ten posts have been crashed by falling trees, which caused further blackouts. People in the north were warned of ongoing power interruptions, as the repair could take weeks.

Forceful waves hit the coast. Image by Juliane Sonntag

Search for teenager who fell in river

A boy was reported missing in the region of Akureyri. He was helping a farmer to reinstall the electricity of his farm when a wave caught him and dragged him down the stream. Rescue teams still search for the teenager in the area of the river Núpá. According to the local police, the incident happened at 10 pm last night.

Rescue teams were busy throughout the week helping people to find shelter and securing flying objects since Tuesday, when the heavy weather had begun to hit the island.

The ongoing harsh conditions make it difficult to proceed for the divers, firefighters and police special forces, who are on duty. Especially the absence of daylight at this time of the year this close to the Arctic Circle complicates the work even more for the rescue staff.

Wind map when cyclone’s climax (11/12/19, 8pm). Source: meteoblue.com

A nation in exceptional circumstances

All flights had been cancelled on Tuesday and Wednesday. Also schools and shops were shut entirely or closed early. The University of Reyjkavík had decided to cancel all exams and most of the Christmas decorations had been taken down when Icelanders prepared for the worst predicted weather in history.

Weather forecasts predict that the Icelandic life will not return to usual for a few more days, as the storm aftermath still hovers over the country.

It seems likely the storm could hit the UK next and bring heavy winds and rain to the north of the country. The weather in Iceland has great effect on the climate in Europe, due to the North Atlantic Oscillation.