East Iceland Residents Warned of Heavy Rain and Runoff

East Iceland March 2023

Residents of East Iceland are encouraged to clear their rain gutters in preparation for heavy rain and rising temperatures today. An orange weather alert is in effect for the East Fjords region today, where hundreds of residents remain evacuated from their homes due to avalanche risk. Several avalanches have hit the East Fjords town of Neskaupsstaður this week, causing property damage but no serious injuries.

The Icelandic Met Office warned that rising temperatures may lead to extreme thawing and increased runoff in East Iceland, as well as rising water levels in rivers and streams. Heavy snow and blowing snow are expected in the region as well, particularly in the northern part. The orange weather alert is in effect until 9:00 AM tomorrow morning, with a yellow weather alert on its heels lasting throughout Friday.

Most East Fjords roads closed

East Iceland Police wrote this morning that they were considering opening the road between Neskaupstaður and Eskifjörður through Fannardalur as well as the road connecting Egilsstaðir and Reyðarfjörður through Fagradalur. Both of these roads are currently closed due to risk of avalanches, as are most roads between Egilsstaðir and Höfn.

Residents are asked to monitor notifications from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management as well as East Iceland Police, the Icelandic Met Office, and road.is.

Orange Weather Alert Tomorrow Morning Across Iceland

orange weather alert Icelandic met office storm

Travellers across Iceland are asked to stay put tomorrow morning, as gale-force winds and blizzard conditions will hit nearly all regions of the country. The Icelandic Met Office has issued an orange weather alert between 6:00 AM and 1:00 PM tomorrow, with conditions expected to improve in the afternoon.

The storm will arrive from the southwest, hitting the Reykjavík capital area, south, and west of the country early tomorrow morning. It will move eastward across the country, with orange alerts issued for all regions except the Ísafjarðardjúp area, for which a yellow alert has been issued.

The storm will bring winds of 20-28 metres per second with violent wind gusts of over 40 metres per second expected near mountains. The winds make travel extremely dangerous and carry a risk of property damage: residents are encouraged to secure outdoor belongings before the storm hits. Heavy precipitation in the form of sleet or snow is expected across the country, particularly in South, North, and East Iceland and will create blizzard conditions and poor visibility.

Travellers can monitor the forecast on the Icelandic Met Office website and road closures and conditions at road.is.

Flights Cancelled, Passengers Unable to Disembark Due to High Winds

Gale-force winds and heavy snowshowers caused considerable disruptions for travellers on Sunday, Mbl.is and RÚV report. While most international flights were cancelled or delayed before they departed, however, eight flights from North America were already en route to Keflavík when the weather took a turn for the worst. The unfortunate passengers on seven of these flights were stuck in their planes for six or more hours, as it was too windy to use jet bridges for disembarkation.

On Sunday, the Met Office issued an orange warning for the west and southwest of Iceland, which experienced winds of 18-28 m/s [40-62 mph]; a yellow warning was issued for the rest of the country, where winds gusted at an ever-so-slightly calmer 18-25 m/s [40-55 mph].

Search and Rescue teams used a bus and another large vehicle to shelter an external stairway from the wind. Image via Lögreglan á Suðurnesjum, FB

Eight hundred passengers stranded in planes on runway

Eight airplanes transporting close to 800 passengers from North America landed at Keflavík on Sunday morning around 6:00 am. One of these planes, arriving from Newark, New Jersey, was able to disembark without issue. The other seven were not so lucky. The wind picked up and became too strong to allow for the use of jet bridges. Search and Rescue teams were called in to assist with the disembarking process.

As of 1:00 pm, only one plane’s passengers had been able to exit their aircraft. Search and Rescue teams managed to successfully evacuate the flight, which had flown in from Miami, Florida, by rolling an external stairway up to the pane, sheltering it from the wind with large vehicles, and rigging up a rope system to help passengers keep their balance as they went out into the frosty gusts.

At time of writing, Search and Rescue teams were still working diligently to evacuate the remaining airplanes, and do so as safely as possible.

Orange Weather Alerts on Sunday, No “Travel Weather”

weather

A storm is expected to hit most parts of the country on Sunday, RÚV reports. A meteorologist with the Icelandic Met Office advises against travel.

Shelter the livestock, refrain from travel

Earlier this week, the Icelandic Met Office issued yellow weather warnings for most parts of the country on Sunday. Those weather warnings have now been escalated to orange.

Speaking to RÚV, meteorologist Teitur Arason predicted that the weather would go from relatively bad to worse on Sunday:

“The weather will be relatively harmless on Saturday but it will deteriorate considerably on Sunday. A northerly storm will strike the entire country, and there will be significant precipitation in North and East Iceland. Temperatures will also drop, and so it’s likely that the precipitation will be in the form of sleet or snow.”

Teitur added that it was clear that the weather on Sunday would not be conducive to travel and that some roads would be impassable. “Farm animals should also be kept inside.”

When asked where and when to expect the worst weather conditions, Teitur replied that Northeast Iceland on Sunday, where wind and precipitation is expected to be at its most significant.

“So you’re saying that people in the area should stay inside during the storm?”

“Yes, and travelling between towns and regions is inadvisable.”

No Travel Weather Today

Orange and yellow weather warnings are in effect across the country today. High winds and rain are in the forecast through to Monday evening in the capital region and much of the North, West and South. A yellow warning will remain in effect in the East until Tuesday morning, according to Vedur.is.

With winds reaching 28 metres per second in some regions and 40 metres per second in the mountains, road conditions are slippery, and many mountain passes are unsafe to traverse or closed entirely.

Elín Björk Jónasdóttir, a meteorologist with the Icelandic Meteorological Office, told RÚV there is increased risk of mudslides in the South and Southeast, where the rain is expected to be heaviest.

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration reports that many roads outside of the capital area are closed, or the conditions are slippery. Travellers can keep an eye on current road conditions on Road.is.

Weather Alerts Issued Across the Country Today

Waves crashing over Reykjavík lighthouse

The Icelandic Met Office has issued yellow and orange weather alerts across the country today, February 25. An orange weather alert will be in effect for the capital region from 11 AM to 5 PM today.

A season of storms

Two powerful lows have swept across Iceland in relatively quick succession: one in late January and another last Monday. In keeping with this theme, the Icelandic Met Office has issued yellow and orange weather alerts for all of Iceland today.

An orange weather alert will be in effect for the capital region from 11 AM to 5 PM. Reykjavík is expected to be bombarded with heavy wind and precipitation.

As noted on the Met Office’s website: “SE 18-25 m/s with sleet and later rain. Damages due to flying debris are likely and construction workers are encouraged to secure construction sites. Important to clear grates and remove snow from building entrances to prevent flood damage or injury.”

An orange weather alert will also be in effect for Faxaflói Bay, the Westfjords, and the Central Highlands. Yellow weather alerts will apply to the rest of the country.

Route One closed between Reykjavík and South Iceland

In the lead up to the storm, the Icelandic Road Administration has announced that it has closed Route One from Reykjavík to South Iceland (the Hellisheiði segment). Mosfellsheiði toward Þingvallavatn has also be closed. The Road Administration advises that this is no weather for travelling.

For more information on road conditions, visit safetravel.is.

Orange and Red Weather Alert Across Iceland

weather warning map

Update 12:37 PM: The Icelandic Met Office has upgraded the weather alert to red for three regions: the Reykjavík capital area, Faxaflói, and Southwest Iceland, between 7:00 PM and midnight this evening. 

Gale-force winds carrying snow and rain will hit Iceland this evening and last into tomorrow morning. The Icelandic Met Office has issued an orange weather alert for the entire country, with the storm reaching a peak around 11:00 PM this evening in South and West Iceland and lasting into the early hours of the morning in the country’s north and east regions. Travel is discouraged in most regions.

Winds between 20-30 metres per second are expected across all of Iceland’s inhabited areas tonight, with wind speeds reaching 33 metres per second in the Highland. In the Reykjavík area, heavy rain or snow is expected, and residents are advised to clear their drains in order to prevent water damage, as well as secure all outdoor furniture and belongings. Snow may cause streets to become impassable in the region.

In South Iceland, residents are encouraged to secure outdoor belongings and wind damage is considered a risk. Travel is not advised and disruptions to transport are expected. Travel is also discouraged in West Iceland and the Westfjords, where wind speeds are expected to reach 28 metres per second with snow, sleet, or rain. Similar conditions are expected in North and East Iceland, where the storm will reach its peak somewhat later.

Weather conditions are expected to improve early tomorrow morning, though a yellow weather alert has been issued for the Reykjavík capital area, Southwest Iceland, and the Faxaflói bay area of West Iceland for Tuesday morning.

Readers can monitor road closures on the Road and Coastal Administration’s website.

Weather Forecast Worsens Across Iceland

weather rain Reykjavík

The yellow weather alert issued by the Icelandic Met Office for today has been upgraded to orange in most of the country. Locals and tourists are discouraged from travelling due to gale-force winds and heavy precipitation in the form of rain or snow that will make roads treacherous. Residents are encouraged to secure outdoor furniture and belongings.

Wind gusts will reach speeds of up to 28 metres per second in South and West Iceland today as well as the Westfjords, with strong gusts expected by mountains and high buildings. Winds will reach up to 30 metres per second in the Central Highland and at least 23 metres per second in all other regions. Snow, sleet, and slippery conditions are expected on mountain roads.

Icelandic Met Office. Weather alert September 21, 2021.

In the west of the country, weather conditions will worsen until late afternoon today and will begin improving by this evening. Northeast Iceland will continue to experience extreme conditions throughout Wednesday as the low front moves eastward across the country.

Orange Weather Alert for East Iceland, No Weather for Travel

The Iceland Met Office has issued an orange weather warning for the east coast of Iceland set to take effect tomorrow morning. Yellow weather alerts are also in place for northwest Iceland tomorrow.

Northwest strong gale or storm force wind(20-30m/s) are expected in the eastern half of Iceland tomorrow morning, and a blizzard is forecasted in the northeast. Conditions are expected to be worst in the east fjords where wind gusts can go up to 45 m/s and residents of the area are asked to secure loose objects to avoid wind damage. There will be no weather to travel in East Iceland tomorrow.

North West Iceland

North gale or strong gale with snow (Yellow)

9 Jan. at 01:00 – 08:00

Northwest gale or strong gale, 15-23 m/s, with snow and blowing snow. Poor visibility is expected with difficult driving conditions.

North East Iceland

Northwest blizzard (Orange)

9 Jan. at 03:00 – 12:00

Northwest strong gale 20-25 m/s with snow and blowing snow, blizzard conditions at times. Poor visibility is expected and travelling is not advised.

Northwest gales with snow showers (Yellow)

9 Jan. at 12:00 – 17:00

Northwest gale or strong gale, 15-23 m/s, with light snow showers and blowing snow. Poor visibility is expected with difficult driving conditions.

Eastern coastal areas

Northwest blizzard (Orange)

9 Jan. at 03:00 – 18:00

Northwest strong gale or storm, 20-28 m/s, with snow and blowing snow. Poor visibility is expected and travelling is not advised.

Northwest gales or strong gales with snow showers (Yellow)

9 Jan. at 18:00 – 10 Jan. at 01:00

Northwest gale or strong gale, 15-23 m/s, with light snow showers and blowing snow. Poor visibility is expected with difficult driving conditions.

East fjords

Northwest storm or violent storm (Orange)

9 Jan. at 03:00 – 18:00

Northwest storm or violent storm, 23-30 m/s, with wind gusts over 45 m/s. Snowshowers and possibly blowing snow with poor visibility. Loose objects outside need to be secured and flying debris can be dangerous. Travelling is not advised.

Northwest strong gales (Yellow)

9 Jan. at 18:00 – 10 Jan. at 01:00

Northwest 18-25 m/s and wind gusts exceeding 35 m/s. Light snow showers and possibly blowing snow. Loose objects can be blown away. Difficult travelling conditions.

South East Iceland

Northwest storm or violent storm (Orange)

9 Jan. at 04:00 – 17:00

Northwest storm or violent storm, 23-30 m/s, with wind gusts over 45 m/s. Possibly blowing sand. Loose objects outside need to be secured and flying debris can be dangerous. Travelling is not advised.

Northwest gales or strong gales (Yellow)

9 Jan. at 17:00 – 21:00

Northwest 15-25 m/s and wind gusts exceeding 35 m/s, strongest wind in the east part of the region. Possibly blowing sand locally. Loose objects can be blown away. Difficult travelling conditions.

Central highlands

Northwest blizzard (Orange)

9 Jan. at 02:00 – 16:00

Northwest strong gale or violent storm, 20-30 m/s, with snow and blowing snow, blizzard conditions likely. Less precipitation in the south part of the region. Poor visibility is expected and travelling is not advised. Moderating earlier in the westernmost part of the region.

 

Orange Weather Alerts Issued for Northeast and East Iceland

A map of Iceland showing orange alerts in Northeast and east Iceland as well as yellow alerts for northwest Iceland, the eastfjords, southeast Iceland and the central highlands

Icelandic Met Office has issued an orange weather alert for tonight for Northeast Iceland and East Iceland, warning of increasing northerly winds as well as rain or sleet in higher altitudes. A yellow alert is also in effect for Northwest Iceland, the Eastfjords, Southeast Iceland and the central highlands.

The orange alert is due to increasing northerly winds, 15-23 metres per second (33 -51 MPH). According to the remarks of the meteorologist on duty, rain is expected in the north and east parts of Iceland and sleet or snow in hilly terrain by evening. Mountain roads in these areas can become impassable in the evening.

The forecast also expects strong squally winds south of Vatnajökull-glacier and in Eastfjords-area in the evening which can be hazardous for vehicles.

The forecast for the next 24 hours is as follows: “Increasing northerly wind, 10-18 m/s today, but strong gales in the southeast part in the evening. Mostly dry in South- and West Iceland. Widely rain in other parts, but heavy rain in the northeast part in the evening with sleet or snow above 300-400 meters above sea level.

Temperature 4 to 13 deg. C today, warmest in the far south. Becoming colder in the evening.

Moderating in the westernmost part tomorrow afternoon and decreasing wind and precipitation elsewhere in Iceland tomorrow evening.”

The Meterological Office’s weather warnings are colour coded according to a combination of the probability of the forecast and the estimated societal impact of the weather. For more information go to en.vedur.is and consult www.safetravel.is before travelling.