ICE-SAR search and rescue squads were busy assisting residents and travelers who ran into trouble in the stormy and snowy weather which hit Iceland yesterday.
ICE-SAR members assisting commuters in the capital region in December. Courtesy of ICE-SAR.
Their day began at Hvammstangi in the northwest at 9:30 am where trampolines and other loose objects were about to blow away, an ICE-SAR press release describes.
In the West Fjords French tourists called for assistance to drive down from the mountain road across Klettháls. The weather was deteriorating and snow covered the road and they weren’t used to driving under such circumstances.
Search and rescue in Hólmavík was called out when the snowstorm hit the mountain pass across Steimgrímsfjarðarheiði and drivers encountered difficulties. Meanwhile, the Blönduós squad had to assist a driver on Þverárfjallsvegur.
Search and rescue squads were also prepared to assist commuters in the east as the weather was set to worsen and Fjarðaheiði about to become impassable at 4 pm when the press release was sent.
Einar M. Einarsson, meteorologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, said cool temperatures can be expected in the coming days with frost in the north and east.
Ecologist Ólafur Nielsen at the Icelandic Natural History Museum studied nesting in Ásbyrgi nature reserve in northeast Iceland yesterday and is concerned about the birds.
“It looks terrible. If the weather continues like this for two to three days a large number of birds may die,” he said, referencing a similar situation in 2006.
“After two days birds may both die of cold and hunger under such circumstances. Many of them feed on insects and they cannot be found in such cold weather,” Ólafur continued.
In Siglufjörður, north Iceland, an oystercatcher was observed yesterday calmly sitting on its eggs in spite of a temperature of -2.5°C (27.5°F) and snowfall.