All the snow which fell in December and January in Iceland’s capital region has vanished with rising temperatures, heavy rain and stormy weather. Meanwhile, unusually cold winter weather on the European mainland has caused more than 300 deaths.
Reykjavík in January. Now all the snow is gone. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
In Eastern Europe the frost has dropped to -38°C (-36°F), in Italy pieces of ice float through the channels in Venice and in Germany the river Elbe is frozen solid, Morgunblaðið reports.
In Bosnia Herzegovina some villages are cut off due to heavy snowfall; an 87-year-old woman became the eighth victim of the winter cold there yesterday.
Farmers have difficulties tending to their livestock and milk production has been reduced by 15-30 percent.
Denmark saw the coldest February night in 26 years when the temperature dropped to -23.1°C (-10°F) in Odense in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, the British Meteorological Office issued its first weather warning before last weekend because of the relentless cold, expecting frost down to -10°C (14°F).
Meteorologist Einar Sveinbjörnsson explained the great shift in weather one week ago such that cold air from Russia currently has easy access across western Europe and even as far south as the Mediterranean, which cools the mainland.
“Icelanders benefit from such weather systems as southerly winds direct the mild air across the Atlantic and northwards towards us and all the way to Svalbard instead of moving directly to the east across the European mainland as was the case since early December,” Einar explained.
However, Einar expects this period of cold to be over soon, except in Eastern Europe where cold winters aren’t unusual, he said. Also, in the latter part of this week, lower temperatures are forecast for Iceland.
The Icelandic Meteorological Office has issued a warning for tonight because of a southwesterly and westerly rainstorm, which is predicted to hit south and east Iceland, but also other regions, with squalls of up to 40 meters per second, ruv.is reports.