Minor Earthquake Registered in Southwest Iceland

Earthquake in South Iceland

A minor earthquake was registered outside of Hveragerði in Southwest Iceland this afternoon, RÚV reports.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, a magnitude 3.9 earthquake occurred 4.5 km SSE of Hveragerði at just past 1 pm today. Residents of Hveragerði, Selfoss, and the Greater Reykjavík Area reportedly felt the quake. A few minor aftershocks followed.

In an interview with RÚV, Gyða Björg Elíasdóttir, a resident of Hveragerði, stated that the quake was brief but intense. Pictures hanging on her wall went awry. There were no damages, however, as cabinets and shelves were securely fixed to the walls.

An expert at the Icelandic Met Office has traced the earthquake’s epicentre to a fissure between Hveragerði and Selfoss. The aftershocks were much less intense than the original quake. Asked whether local residents could expect further aftershocks, the expert said that it was impossible to say.

The Richter scale categorizes a magnitude 3.9 earthquake as “minor: often felt by people, but very rarely causing damage. Shaking of indoor objects can be noticeable.”

Vesturlandsvegur Closed After Car Accident on Kjalarnes

iceland ambulance

Ambulances transported two individuals to the emergency room following a car accident on Vesturlandsvegur just before noon today, RÚV reports. Segments of the road have subsequently been closed.

According to the police, a container fell off a lorry and collided with two vehicles driving on Vesturlandsvegur, north of Mosfellsbær. The Public Roads Administration’s website states that the road has been closed indefinitely, from Þingvallavegur to Grundarhverfi. Responding parties are currently working to clear the road. Travellers can monitor the closure on Safetravel.is.

The Public Roads Administration warns of strong gusts on Kjalarnes from 1 pm until night. A yellow weather alert will be in effect until 7 pm tonight.

[/media-credit] Safetravel.is

Local Man Clears Road Ensuring Mates Can Fly Abroad

winter tires reykjavík

Hoping to aid his friends and colleagues escape the harsh Icelandic winter, Finnur Aðalbjörnsson refused to let an impassable road stand in his way, Vísir reports. A storm has battered many parts of Iceland recently.

Independent People

When it became evident that his friends and colleagues would be unable to leave Akureyri for Keflavík Airport on Wednesday – as the road through Öxnadalsheiði had become impassable – local man Finnur Aðalbjörnsson decided to clear the way himself. Operating a four-hundred horsepower Fendt tractor equipped with a snowblower, Finnur left home at 6 pm Wednesday afternoon. His friends followed in four cars. Some of them were headed to Birmingham; others planned to attend the 2020 European Men’s Handball Championship.

No Stranger to Snow

No stranger to snow, Finnur is the owner of an eponymous contracting company that rents out machinery and regularly clears snow. Wanting to help his friends and employees, he contacted the Public Roads Administration. His plan was well received. Speaking to RÚV yesterday, Sigurður Jónsson, Head Supervisor at the Public Roads Administration in Akureyri, maintains that this is the first time that such a request has been made.

According to Finnur, conditions on Öxnadalsheiði were as bad they had ever been, with plenty of hardened snow.

“I know the guys who clear the road, but they had been told to suspend their efforts owing to the bad weather. I spoke to them, of course, too; I didn’t want to inconvenience them or the Public Roads Administration. They were fine with it,” Finnur stated.

Come One, Come All

Despite challenging conditions, clearing the road went well. Before long, the number of cars following in Finnur’s wake had multiplied significantly. When he finally made it across the mountain road, he observed a caravan of 23 cars behind him.

“I had only planned on helping those four cars across, you know,” Finnur said.

It took Finnur roughly four and a half hours to traverse the road the first time. He turned around in Skagafjörður and seven cars followed him back north.

“The drive back was much quicker, as I had already cleared the road once. Even though the road had once again become snowed in, the snow was much lighter the second time.”

(Click here to see a video that Hrólfur Arnar Sumarliðason captured, following in Finnur’s tracks.)

Leave No Man Behind

According to Finnur, most of the cars that followed him were well equipped to handle conditions on the road. There was, however, a slight problem with one car: a two-wheel drive vehicle that accompanied him on the way back.

“He kept getting stuck, even though I had already cleared the road. He couldn’t see and kept going off track. We needed to assist him many times along the way. We couldn’t leave him, of course.”

Nine Hours Later

Finnur estimates that he arrived to Akureyri at roughly 3 am Thursday morning, nine hours after leaving home. Asked whether he could imagine clearing the road again, Finnur responded in the affirmative:

“Yes, yes, yes. A little adventure is always good, man. Nobody wants to sit home and watch TV or DVDs every night. That kind of things becomes tiresome.”

RÚV broke the story yesterday.

Yellow Weather Alert Issued for Greater Reykjavík Area Today

The Icelandic Met Office issues yellow weather alert

The Icelandic Met Office has issued a yellow weather alert for the Faxaflói Bay, area, including the Greater Reykjavík Area, today. The warning will come into effect at noon and will stay in effect until 9 pm tonight.

The Met Office expects east and southeast winds between 15-23 m/S with gusts up to 30-35 m/s near mountains in the Faxaflói Bay area (including the Greater Reykjavík Area) today. A yellow weather alert has been issued from noon to 9 pm tonight. Travellers are advised to drive carefully as the weather is likely to cause, “some transport disturbances and closure of isolated routes.”

Over the day, the Met Office expects the weather to gradually improve in the south but grow worse in the west. A yellow weather alert will come into effect for the Breiðafjörður area later in the day. As meteorologists expect a blizzard in the West Fjords later today an orange weather alert will be in effect in the area from 5 pm today until noon Saturday.

South Iceland (Orange Alert, Blizzard): 12 pm – 3 pm
Central Highlands (Yellow Alert, Blizzard): 11 am – midnight
Faxaflói Bay, including RVK (Yellow Alert, Severe Gales): noon – 9 pm
Breiðafjörður (Yellow Alert, Northeast Blizzard): 3 pm – 11.30 am
West Fjords (Orange Alert, Blizzard): 5 pm – 14 pm tomorrow

The Met Office encourages travellers to monitor the weather today closely, e.g. on Safetravel.is where road conditions are displayed in real-time.