Hotels Provide Shelter for Tourists Stranded in Winter Weather

winter weather iceland

More than 30 tourists sought shelter in the Dyrhólaey Hotel on the evening of December 25 when their bus, whose driver had ignored road closures, became stranded in the snow.

The bus in question was operated by the company Hopbílar.

Storms across South and Southeast Iceland interrupted many holiday plans, keeping rescue teams busy for the night. No aid station was opened, with travelers instead seeking last-minute shelter at several hotels across the South Coast.

See also: Airlines Recovering from Storm Delays

Hotel Midgard in Hvolsvöllur is also reported as having opened its doors to more than 70 stranded tourists. Hvolsvöllur, a small town in South Iceland, is often passed through on the way to other South Coast destinations, and serves as a transit hub for the region.

Björg Árnadóttir, manager at the Midgard Hotel, stated to RÚV that not all could be accommodated, with some needing to sleep on mattresses in the hotel lobby.

As of December 26, conditions have begun to clear, with most travelers continuing on their way.

As of the time of writing, Route 1 is open from between the Markarfljót river and Vík on the South Coast.

Especially during the winter, travelers should consult road closures and the latest information on weather warnings at https://safetravel.is/.

 

 

 

Six Shelters Opened Since Saturday

red cross iceland

In response to the winter weather conditions, the Red Cross in Iceland, in cooperation with several other organizations, has opened six shelters since the weekend.

The shelters can be found in Þorlákshöfn, Kjalarnes, Selfoss, Grindavík, and Reykjanesbær. Additionally, another shelter is being opened in Hella, a small town on Iceland’s South Coast.

The recent cold snap has disrupted traffic across the nation, leaving some travelers stranded, whether due to road closures, flight delays, or other reasons.

A stuck school bus in Þorlákshöfn required using the elementary school there as a temporary shelter, and there are also reports of many travelers with disrupted plans needing to take temporary shelter at tourist destinations like the Blue Lagoon.

Some 1,000 individuals are reported as having used the Grindavík shelter.

In their official statement, the Red Cross wished to “thank our volunteers and staff very much for the quick response to these difficult circumstances.” The Red Cross also encourage people to stay at home until conditions improve. Check the Icelandic Meteorological Office for information on weather warnings and travel advisories.

The official statement from the Red Cross in Iceland can be found below.

Extended Hours at Women’s Shelter During Cold Snap

red cross iceland

The Konukot women’s shelter will stay open all day in order to provide much-needed shelter for homeless women during the current cold weather snap in Reykjavík, RÚV reports. Typically, the shelter is only open in the evenings and early morning, from 5:00 pm to 10:00 am, but with temperatures hovering between -11°C [12°F] and 1°C [34°F] this weekend, the decision was made to keep it open during the day as well.

Konukot, which means ‘Women’s Cottage,’ is a collaborative project maintained by the Red Cross and the City of Reykjavík. According to shelter director Brynhildur Jensdóttir, there’s a regular group of women who utilize Konukot on a consistent basis and thus far, usage has been normal. However, she and the shelter staff want the women to have the option of staying longer if needed when the weather is particularly cold.

The nearby Gistiskýlið men’s shelter, also run by the City of Reykjavík, will be open during its usual weekend hours, that is the standard 5:00 pm – 10:00 am schedule. Use of this facility has increased considerably with the cold, and all of the beds have been filled. Five additional beds were provided on Friday, bringing the total up to 30.