MET Office Forecasts Frost in Most Parts of the Country Tonight

MET Office

The Icelandic MET Office forecasts frost in most of the country from Friday evening to early Saturday. Sunday should see an increase in temperature with concomitant wind.

Cold snap followed by warmer temperatures, more wind

As noted by the Icelandic MET Office, the country is experiencing a shift in weather, with a decrease in pressure causing the wind to subside. Today, a gentle breeze is expected in many areas, although scattered showers are anticipated along the southern and eastern coasts of Iceland.

As evening approaches, the combination of mild winds and partly cloudy skies will usher in a cooler atmosphere. The MET Office forecasts frost across most of Iceland tonight, with a significant chill sweeping over the northwestern parts by morning.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, temperatures are set to rise once more. In West Iceland, the sky will become more overcast with a possibility of a light drizzle. A cold breeze from the southwest is expected across many areas, while the brisk cold will continue in the northwest. Nonetheless, the east is slated for some sunshine, making for a brighter day in that region.

Íslandsbanki: Inflation to Dip Below 8% By Year’s End

íslandsbanki sale iceland reykjavík

Iceland’s three big commercial banks predict inflation to subside over the coming months, RÚV reports. Íslandsbanki predicts that the annual inflation rate will fall below 8% by the end of the year.

Purchasing power decreased

As noted in an article published on the website of Statistics Iceland this week, despite disposable income per capita increasing by 4.7% compared to the first quarter of 2022 – the purchasing power of household disposable income per capita during the first quarter of 2023 decreased by 4.8% compared with last year’s corresponding quarter. This decrease is to be explained by an increased rate of inflation (the consumer price index increased by 10% year-on-year), which affects product prices, lending rates, and loan repayments, among other things.

In response to increased inflation, Iceland’s Central Bank has consistently raised key interest rates. In late May, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Iceland raised the policy rate by 1.25%. This was the thirteenth rate hike in a row, with the bank’s main interest rate currently sitting at 8.75%. These actions have inspired criticism from union leaders, for inflation has outpaced the benefits negotiated during the most recent round of collective agreements.

Inflation to subside

As noted by RÚV, the commercial banks are now predicting that inflation will begin to subside in the coming months. Íslandsbanki predicts that it will be below 8% by the end of the year, RÚV reports.

Jón Bjarki Bentsson, Íslandsbanki’s chief economist, told RÚV yesterday that he was optimistic: “Our forecasts indicate that inflation will drop below 9% in June. And by the end of the year, it will be below 8%. It will probably be somewhere between 7.5-8%. If this turns out to be true, we assume that the actions of the Central Bank will have reached its final phases.”

Lower inflation vital to collective bargaining

Inflation within the economies of Iceland’s main trading partners has also decreased, and Jón Bjarki told RÚV that so-called imported inflation was subsiding: “We see the prices of various commodities, wheat, timber – various things like that – energy: which have fallen again after last year’s price spike.”

Another round of collective bargaining will begin this winter. The president of ASÍ has stated that it was necessary to increase purchasing power against the effects of inflation. Jón Bjarki told RÚV that lower inflation would help when it came to collective agreements and that it was important for the parties in the labour market to look to the future.

“Good Spring Weather” Ahead Following Historically Cold March

According to long-term forecasts, this April could be one of the warmest on record. A meteorologist has told Vísir that warm air is expected over the country after the weekend, with “good spring weather” anticipated around the first day of summer.

A quick transition from the coldest March in 44 years

Temperatures have remained above average this month, marking a quick transition from the coldest March on record in 44 years. April could also become historic, albeit for happier reasons, according to meteorologist Einar Sveinbjörnsson who expects good spring weather next week.

“A predicted high-pressure area over the British Isles, along with milder air from the southeast, is expected to bring very mild weather in the coming week, potentially around the first day of summer,” Einar, who also forecasts the weather on the website Blika.is, told Vísir.

According to the Norwegian Meteorological Agency’s long-term forecast, temperatures could reach double digits next week. Einar preferred to remain grounded: “A temperature range between 5-9°C is considered good for the month of April – and if one can feel the warmth of the sun during this time,” Einar noted. He warned that if the trend of warm weather continues, April could be considered an extreme weather month, similar to April 2019, provided there are no sudden changes in the last week.

April 2019 was the warmest in many parts of the country since the beginning of measurements; the average temperature in Reykjavík was 6.5°C. Einar told Vísir that it was, however, too early to say whether this year’s First Day of Summer (Thursday, April 20) would also mark the actual start of summer.

“Cold spells with snow or rain can manifest themselves in this country throughout May and until June. But after this cold winter, it would be great to have a sunny and warm May to get rid of the ice from the ground and better prepare us for the arrival of summer,” Einar concluded by saying.

It’s Going to be a White Christmas, Meteorologists Say

Toddlers in Iceland in Winter

According to current weather forecasts, this year’s Christmas will be white; snow will fall tonight in the capital area and will continue to fall on Saturday.

Twenty below temperatures already recorded

The current cold spell, which began early last week, is predicted to last until Christmas Day. In light of the continued frost, the snow that is expected to fall tonight and tomorrow in the capital area (West and Southwest Iceland) is unlikely to melt before Christmas. The next few days should also see snow in other parts of the country.

In an interview with Mbl.is yesterday, a meteorologist with the Icelandic MET Office confirmed that current forecasts predict “light snow” over the holidays and that the current cold spell was expected to last at least ten more days.

During this time, temperatures are expected to range between 2°C and 20°C, the latter temperature having already been recorded at Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum and Hólasandur in Northeast Iceland. It has also been very cold in the highlands of Iceland.

Summer’s “Finally Here,” Meteorologist Declares

A person riding an electric scooter by the Reykjavík city centre pond.

Speaking to Fréttablaðið yesterday, meteorologist Sigurður Þ. Ragnarsson announced the late arrival of the Icelandic summer. According to Sigurður, good weather is expected in Iceland over the coming days, and may even last a few weeks.

Warm weather may persist for weeks

“Summer’s finally here,” Sigurður Þ. Ragnarsson, known more familiarly as Storm Siggi, declared in an interview with Fréttablaðið yesterday; notwithstanding warm weather in North Iceland last week, this year’s summer has generally received tepid reviews. According to Sigurður, however, the weather is expected to greatly improve over the coming weeks – with warmth and stillness being the operative words.

“We see very warm air gathering in the upper atmosphere, especially to the north of the country, near eastern Greenland,” Sigurður told Fréttablaðið. “This is warm air that you usually don’t see this time of year. There’s also this pressure ridge building over the country, straddling the Atlantic, which would, if everything works out, push any low-pressure systems to the south. These two factors create warm, calm, and dry weather for the entire country, which could remain well into the middle of September – or even longer,” Sigurður remarked.

Sigurður added that many “noteworthy” and “exciting” developments were on the horizon over the next few weeks. “Yes, you heard right: weeks. One almost wants to say – Friday notwithstanding – that the summer’s finally here.”

Warm weather but no record-breaking heat

Although warm weather is expected over the coming weeks, Sigurður tempered expectations with the caveat that Icelanders would not see any record-breaking temperatures; whenever warm air accumulates in the upper atmosphere, wind is required to pull the warmth down to the surface.

“This wind isn’t in our forecasts, so we’re not expecting any records to fall, but, nevertheless, unseasonably warm weather. It’s worth mentioning that whenever you have this persistent low-pressure zone hovering over the country, cloud cover becomes difficult to predict – especially if the sea breeze comes into effect,” Sigurður observed, adding that the weather should begin to improve over the weekend.

“I’m on cloud nine, for my own part, with the prospect of an Indian summer – in the capital area, as well. It’s actually all of Iceland that will be experiencing this pleasant weather for roughly two weeks. If everything works out, this will also help to extend berry and mushroom-picking season, and may even extend the harvest time among potato patches.”

Inflation Rate Continues to Climb, Peak Expected in June

architecture Kirkjusandur apartments

The annual inflation rate hit 7.2% yesterday, a 12-year high. Analysts at Íslandsbanki bank predict that the inflation rate will peak in June at 7.7%.

Rising every month since August

Statistics Iceland updated its consumer price index (a proxy for inflation) yesterday. The latest figures indicate that the annual inflation rate has hit a 12-year high, or 7.2%, with the CPI having risen every month since last August.

As noted by RÚV, the consumer price index increased by 1.25% last month: the largest one-month increase since February of 2013.

The biggest driver for this increase is a 2.4% rise in the price of housing and utilities, the single most significant category in the calculation of the CPI (29.3% of total weight), accounting for a rise of 0.45%.

“Housing and utilities are by far the most important driver of inflation in Iceland, first and foremost rent (cost of housing),” Erna Björg Sverrisdóttir, Chief Economist at Arion Bank, stated in an interview with Mbl.is yesterday.

“Of course, the war in Ukraine is beginning to affect inflation,” she continued. “We’ve seen gas prices rise and the price of imported goods, as well. This trend, the gradual increase in inflation among our main trading partners, had begun before the war, but the war has exacerbated these effects,”

(As noted by Kjarninn, the CPI would be approximately 3% lower if housing and utilities had remained unchanged over the past 12 months.)

Another increase that affected the CPI was a rise in the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages, which increased by 1.4% between months. (Food and non-alcoholic beverages account for 14.7% of the CPI’s total weight).

The rise in the cost of dairy products also contributed to inflation, raising the consumer price index by 0.2%. Airfares likewise increased by 22.9%, causing a 0.37% rise in the index.

Inflation exceeding the Central Bank’s forecast

The current inflation rate exceeds predictions made by the Central Bank: In early February, the Central Bank forecast an annual inflation rate of 5.8% during the first quarter of 2022 and 5.6% during the second quarter. The forecast was, however, published before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in various increases within the international market.

Only 15 days have passed since Landsbanki bank predicted that the inflation rate would peak in June at 7%. Íslandsbanki bank predicts that the inflation rate will peak in June at 7.7%.

Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson stated that Iceland’s economic outlook was “improving,” despite rising inflation.

First Day of Summer in Iceland

Iceland

Today is Sumardagurinn fyrsti, or the first day of summer, in Iceland. This public holiday is observed every year on the first Thursday of April after the 18th.

The holiday is a throwback to the old Icelandic calendar, which was divided into two halves—six months of nattleysi (nightless days, or summer), and six months of skammdegi (short days, or winter). The first day of summer is the first day of the month of Harpa, which is also the first month of the year according to the old Icelandic calendar.

Screenshot, the Icelandic Met Office

The holiday may seem particularly ironic, given that the weather is often quite cold in Iceland in April, but tradition holds that cold weather is actually lucky on this day. That is, if the temperature drops below freezing on the eve of the holiday, summer and winter are said to “freeze together,” which bodes a good, warm summer. Read what you will, then, into the fact that temperatures around the country last night were close to, but not quite freezing, ranging from 3-7°C [37-44°F]. But at least the day off will be a reasonably pleasant one for much of the country, with sunshine and temperatures of 6-12°C [43-54°F] in the Westfjords, the north, and the east of Iceland. City dwellers, on the other hand, can count on a fairly warm day, 11°C [52°F], but will have to make due with overcast skies.

Be sure to check opening hours before venturing out today—many businesses will have shorter hours or closures in observance of the holiday. Strætó will run according to a Sunday schedule. The Bonús grocery store will have normal opening hours, as will Nettó, Krónan, and Hagkaup. Swimming pools will also be open regular hours.

Gleðilegt sumar!

Mid-June Snow and Weeks of Cold Weather in Iceland

Ljósavatnsskarð snow mountains green

Though June is halfway through, locals in some regions of Iceland will have to wait a little longer for summer weather. Yesterday brought snow flurries across North and East Iceland and temperatures hovered around freezing. Meteorologist Einar Sveinbjörnsson expects the next three weeks to be unseasonably cold across most of the country.

Search and Rescue crews were called out to assist a group of tourists yesterday near Þakgil campsite north of Vík í Mýrdal, South Iceland. The campsite was buried under around 10cm (3.9in) of snow and a few visitors had gotten stuck on their way from the campsite. The road to the campsite is a fairly steep and unpaved, the main reason Þakgil is only open to visitors in the summer.

In his weather forecast for the next three weeks, Einar stated the week of June 14-21 would be characterised by northerly winds and temperatures of around 5°C (41°F) in Akureyri, while South Iceland would enjoy some sun. June 21-28 will be slightly warmer but fairly rain with the East and Southeast regions enjoying the best weather. According to Einar, there is a 60% chance the weather will stay cool in the following week (June 28-July 5), with not only Iceland, but also Scandinavia and mainland Europe experiencing unseasonably low temperatures.

Reykjavík Residents Asked to Limit Hot Water Usage During Upcoming Cold Spell

A woman walking two young children through the snow

Iceland’s Meteorological Office has issued yellow or orange weather warnings for every region of the country starting at varying times today. Due to strong northern winds, Icelanders can expect an unusually cold spell to last well into the weekend, and Veitur Utilities ask people to limit their hot water usage for the next few days to help them keep up the supply.

According to the Met Office’s forecaster’s remarks, it “looks like northerly gales or strong gales today with snow in the northern half of Iceland and possibly blizzard in North- and East-Iceland. Becoming colder. Still northerly strong gales tomorrow (Thursday) and winds not calming down considerably until Friday afternoon.” A yellow weather warning will be in effect in every region of the country today except for southeast Iceland, where the Met Office has issued an orange warning. “North and northwest 20-28 m/s(45-63 mph) by eastern Vatnajökull and in Öræfi. Gusts expected to exceed 45 m/s (101mph) with a possible sandstorm and flying pebbles.” People all over Iceland, but especially in the southeast are advised to secure loose objects in their immediate surroundings and reconsider travel plans.

Temperatures are expected to drop as far as -18°C(-0.4°F) in the country’s central highland, while temperatures in and around Reykjavík will likely be closer to 6-7°C below zero (19-21°F). While Iceland has been experiencing low temperatures lately, the recent frost hasn’t been accompanied by strong winds. This time, the low temperatures are accompanied by northerly gales, and the added wind chill will make the next few days the coldest Reykjavík has seen since 2013, Meteorologist Einar Sveinbjörnsson explains. According to Einar, during still and frosty days, surface temperatures are low, but you don’t have to go high up to find warmer air. During cold and windy days, that’s not the case and the frosty winds can bite. He recommends keeping a warm hat and a pair of woollen mittens handy and taking extra care when bundling up kindergarten-aged children.

Veitur Utilities PLC has activated their contingency plan for hot water usage in the capital area. Among other things, that includes encouraging people to limit hot water usage as much as possible to ensure enough hot water supply to heat every house in the area.

Forecasting models that use weather forecasts to assess hot water usage foresee that hot water supply in the capital area will reach its tolerance threshold on Friday and into the weekend. About 90% of hot water is used to heat houses, which makes it very important that people know how best to use it. People are encouraged to:

  • keep their windows shut
  • don’t keep doors open for longer than necessary
  • don’t fill up hot tubs
  • set radiators so that they’re hot on top but cold towards the floor
  • make sure radiators aren’t covered by long curtains or furniture
  • lower pressure on snow-melting systems.

In addition to asking the public to limit their hot water usage, Veitur is also raising the water temperature to users from low-temperature geothermal areas in Reykjavík and Mosfellsbær. They’ve finetuned their system so that it is fit to keep up the supply and are working on repairing new pumps bought this autumn with the intent to increase supply.

Orange and Yellow Weather Warnings Tonight and Tomorrow

map of iceland showing regions affected by yellow and orange weather warnings

An orange warning will be in place in the central highland, Strandir, and Northwest Iceland from eight pm tonight until 10 am tomorrow. A yellow weather warning will be in place in the Westfjords, West Iceland, and the southwest corner of Iceland, from five pm and all day tomorrow. A meteorologist with the Iceland Met Office states that driving conditions on mountainous roads will deteriorate quickly and traffic in the capital area might also be affected.

Yellow warnings in West Iceland, capital area, and South Coast

From five pm this afternoon, a yellow warning is in place in the Westfjords, Snæfellsnes, and west Iceland, until morning. The met office forecasts southeast winds 15-23 m/s (33-51 mph) with sleet or snow, especially in mountainous roads in Snæfellsnes, where driving conditions can deteriorate quickly.

At seven pm, a yellow warning is in place in southwest Iceland, also expecting winds of 15-23 m/s(33-51 mph). Sleet or snow can be expected on Hellisheiði, in Þrengsli and inland regions, while rain is expected closer to the coast.

Around that time, a yellow warning takes effect in the capital area. Winds of 13-23 m/s (29-51 mph) are expected, with the strongest winds hitting Kjalarnes. Sleet or snow, followed by a considerable amount of rain. Driving conditions might deteriorate, especially in higher-altitude parts of the city. The weather is expected to subside during the night, but yellow warnings will be in place again at noon Thursday in Strandir, North-west Iceland, the Westfjords, Snæfellsnes and South Iceland, lasting until midnight. The Met Office warns of strong winds, icy streets and sidewalks, and bouts of limited visibility, which could cause problems in traffic.

Orange warnings in central highland and North-West Iceland

From eight pm, an orange warning will be in place in Strandir and North-West Iceland. Strong winds, 18-28 m/s (40-63 mph) from the south, as well as sleet or snow can be expected, especially at Strandir, Holtavörðuheiði and Laxárdalsheiði. Road conditions in these areas will be bad, and in the central highland, there will be no weather for travelling.

Detailed weather information and forecasts in English are available at the Iceland Meteorological Office’s website, www.vedur.is.