Iceland’s Search and Rescue (ICE-SAR) teams responded to 763 calls on Friday, all before 6.00pm, while the country was on red alert during a punishing bout of extreme weather. Mbl.is reports that just over 800 individuals, including volunteer members, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics, took part in the day’s emergency operations.
A few instances were reported of the wind tearing roof plates off buildings and bus stop shelters from the ground, requiring search and rescue volunteers to weigh them down to prevent further damage. In spite of the extraordinary number of calls, however, only a few notable injuries were reported, such as a man in Hvalfjörður who was hit by a roof plate that had been blown loose. He was then transported to the hospital in Reykjavík.
In addition to ICE-SAR teams, an estimated 200 additional workers spent the day trying to minimize infrastructural damage caused by the storm, for instance by maintaining and repairing power line poles.
The storm brought with it wind gusts of as much as 71 metres per second (159 miles per hour) and dangerously high tides which surged over residential streets in Keflavík and caused flooding in the South Iceland town of Garður. By Friday evening, the red alert was lifted by the Icelandic Met Office, but an orange warning is still in effect for the whole country. At the time of writing, parts of the south coast were still without power and some were without hot water, but capital area services were returning to normal with the city buses running again and healthcare clinics and post offices reopened. Road closures in the south had been lifted for the most part, but roads in the north and Westfjords remained closed.