Siglufjörður Comics Festival Announces Debut

Comics fans and creators, rejoice: the Siglufjörður Comics Festival will debut this summer.

A history of comics

The North Iceland town is certainly picturesque, but the town also has historic ties to comics. It is the home of the Siglufjarðarprentsmiðja printing house which, in the 1930s, began printing the very first comics in Iceland.

As such, the town is a fitting place to showcase the works of comics artists and invite others to ignite their creative endeavors, with events spanning numerous venues. One particular highlight is illustrator Brian Pilkington, whose illustrations are immediately recognisable from having graced books about trolls, the Christmas lads, and much more.

Something for everyone

The festival will also feature an Artists’ Alley, the described “heart and soul” of the event, wherein attendees will be able to take in the works of numerous artists. In addition, interested artists may apply to be a part of this event here, but bear in mind the deadline to do so is June 1st.

In keeping with inspiring and celebrating the creativity of others, the festival will also feature a “Drink and Draw” event, and close with a tabletop games workshop.

All relevant information about this event can be found on the official page, and will be held from August 30th through September 1st.

Siglufjörður Resident Loses Home to Severe Storm

Siglufjörður

A severe storm hit the town of Siglufjörður in North Iceland on Monday night, leading to the complete destruction of one residence. RÚV spoke to the homeowner yesterday, whose three cats remain missing.

“Future plans” blown away

A severe storm swept through the town of Siglufjörður in North Iceland on Monday night, prompting local authorities to issue an orange weather alert.

In the early morning of Tuesday, September 19, it was confirmed that a residence had been completely demolished by the storm. RÚV interviewed homeowner Hilmar Daníel Valgeirsson yesterday, who admitted that the inclement weather had taken the community by surprise.

Hilmar, an eight-year resident of Siglufjörður with an American upbringing, stated that while he was familiar with weather-related damage from his time in Florida, he had not anticipated such an event in Iceland. He had been intermittently at home that evening and was alerted by concerned neighbours about unusual noises emanating from his property.

“A neighbour reported loud, unsettling noises. Upon inspection, I realised that my home’s roof had been severely damaged,” Hilmar recounted. He is currently residing with his father and noted that local residents have extended offers of assistance. His three cats, however, remain missing.

“All of my future plans have simply been blown away,” Hilmar lamented.

“A dangerous storm”

As noted by RÚV, Strákar (the local rescue team in Siglufjörður), in coordination with local police and fire departments, was actively engaged in emergency response efforts. Debris, including roof tiles and wooden planks, was scattered throughout the town, posing a significant risk, though no injuries have been reported.

Magnús Magnússon, Chair of the Strákar rescue team, emphasised the danger that the storm had posed to the area, particularly near the docks. “We took measures to restrict vehicular access to mitigate risks,” he said, adding that while northeastern winds are common in Siglufjörður, the severity of this storm warranted regional warnings.

Decision to be made on Seyðisfjörður evacuations

Hjördís Guðmundsdóttir, Communications Director for the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, informed RÚV that assessments are underway to determine ongoing landslide risks in Seyðisfjörður. The MET Office is currently evaluating conditions, and several homes in Seyðisfjörður remain evacuated. Hjördís anticipates a decision on the status of the evacuations will be made by midday.

Herring Era Museum Floods: ‘The exhibition area was basically floating’

The award-winning Herring Era Museum in Siglufjörður in North Iceland flooded on Friday, RÚV reports. Staff were met by 40 cm [15.7 in] of water when they arrived, and two days of heavy rain have only exacerbated the situation.

The Herring Era Museum – Síldarminjasafn Íslands, FB

Wellsprings located in the embankment behind the museum tend to collect water underground, and these simply overflowed after days of heavy rainfall. The runoff had no good drainage channel, something that fire chief Jóhann K. Jóhannsson says will need to be addressed in the future.

“[The water] rose really quickly,” said curator Aníta Elefsen. “Around noon, it had reached 77 cm [30 in] and the exhibition area was basically floating, I think that’s the only word for it.”

The Herring Era Museum – Síldarminjasafn Íslands, FB

Artifacts and cultural relics at risk

Located in a former salting station, boathouse, and herring factory in the centre of Siglufjörður, the Herring Era Museum offers an extensive, immersive glimpse into a fascinating period of Icelandic history. The museum has received numerous awards for its innovative curation and live exhibitions. It is, in fact, the only museum in the country to have won the European Museum Award.

The Herring Era Museum – Síldarminjasafn Íslands, FB

Unfortunately, it’s the main exhibition space that has flooded, and although firefighters have been running numerous pumps since Friday, they were still draining water away eight hours later, on Saturday morning. “I think we’re using every available pump in the municipality,” said Aníta.

She says it’s difficult to determine the extent of the damage to the collection at this time but hopes that staff will be able to start doing so early next week.

“Obviously, this is a great deal of water and it’s the exhibition space we’re talking about. There are artifacts and cultural relics. It’s hard to say right now—I think we’ll just have to wait until everything dries and we can walk through here […] without getting our feet wet to assess the situation.”

Cycling Race a Rare Opportunity for Riders

More than 100 cyclists took part in a socially distanced group ride on Thursday from Siglufjörður to Akureyri in North Iceland, RÚV reports. The event was part of the Akureyri Cycling Festival, which started last Saturday and will end on Sunday.

Competitors were organized into different race groups according to distance, the shortest of which, for adults, was 78 km [48 mi] and the longest of which was 102.8 km [639 mi]. The longest route took cyclists through the Héðinsfjörður and Múlagöng tunnels. And although climate conditions aren’t ideal in the tunnels, festival chair Árni F. Sigurðsson admits, being able to cycle through them is a unique opportunity. “It’s humid and cool,” he said, “and Múlagöng tunnel is one-way and very narrow, which makes it a bit of a struggle. But there’s no other opportunity to bike a route like that in a competition.”

Árni said that some people withdrew from the race because of the current rise in COVID infections, but assured that organizers were conscientious about safety measures. Riders were split into smaller groups, some of which never had reason to cross paths with one another. The award competition was also split between two locations and top prizes were given out before all competitors finished the race. “We gave [winners the awards] right away so that people wouldn’t gather together and wait.”

This is the fifth or sixth time the Akureyri Cycling Festival has been held, said Árni, and he encouraged people to take a look at the remaining schedule of events (here) as all events are open to the public spectators and take place outside over a large area, in compliance with current COVID guidelines.

Evacuations In Siglufjörður Due to Risk of Avalanche

Siglufjörður, North Iceland.

The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Response, along with the Iceland Meteorological Office, has raised the level of alert in North Iceland from Uncertain to Dangerous, due to a risk of avalanches. Nine houses in Siglufjörður will be evacuated.

The Met Office has raised the level of alert due to the risk of avalanches in North Iceland. Residential areas in the southernmost part of Siglufjörður will be evacuated and the police will be in touch with the people who need to leave their homes. This morning it was found that an avalanche had fallen on the Skarðsdalur Ski area and caused considerable damage. Luckily, no one was in the area at the time of the avalanche.

The houses that are being evacuated lie below the avalanche protection structure known as Stóri-Boli (Big bull). Built in 1998-1999, it has been hit by several avalanches in its time and stood its ground. The evacuation is a safety precaution, as a large avalanche hitting under the worst possible circumstances could possibly break the avalanche barrier. This was what happened in Flateyri last January when a large avalanche partially breached the avalanche barrier.

The Department of Civil Protection’s operations control has been activated in Akureyri and they are in constant communication with all appropriate parties to ensure communication. The Department of Civil Protection has sent a request to the Icelandic Coast Guard that a coast guard ship is in the area to assist if needed. They’ve responded positively and coast guard ship Týr is heading north.

The situation in Tröllaskagi will continue to be monitored and if needed, authorities will put the appropriate measures into effect. Residents in the area are asked to monitor the weather forecast closely; a considerable amount of precipitation is expected until the weekend. A yellow weather alert has been issued for the area, in effect until tomorrow noon.

Since yesterday morning, there’s been a stiff wind from the north with a considerable amount of snow. Yesterday, an avalanche fell on the road to Ólafsfjörður, effectively closing it to traffic, and today, large avalanches fell in Ósbrekkufjall mountain, one reaching all the way down to the sea. The Met Office expects northern and north-easterly winds and snow until the weekend. All roads to and from the Fjallabyggð municipality, containing the towns of Siglufjörður and Ólafsfjörður, are impassable due to the snow. Earlier this afternoon, a snowplough cleared a temporary path for a convoy of people who urgently needed to travel to or from the area.

The North-east Iceland Police Commissioner and the Department of Civil Protection and emergency response will continue to monitor the situation in cooperation with the Iceland Meteorological office.

Avalanche Causes Damage at Siglufjörður Skiing Grounds

Ski Siglufjörður Skarðsdalur

An avalanche has damaged installations on the skiing grounds in Siglufjörður, North Iceland, RÚV reports. No one was on the grounds when the avalanche occurred early this morning, though staff noticed it when they arrived in the area, located in Skarðsdalur valley. Egill Rögnvaldsson, regional manager of the ski grounds, says the extent of the damage is not known.

The ski lodge was displaced from its foundation by the avalanche. The snow also fell on storage containers with rental equipment and moved a snow plough. Employees left the area immediately once they saw what had occurred. According to the Icelandic Met Office, there is an ongoing risk of avalanches in the area and a state of uncertainty remains in effect in North Iceland.

Two avalanches have fallen on roads in the area and some remain closed due to clean-up or ongoing avalanche risk.

Trapped Season 3: Filming Begins in North Iceland

Ófærð (Trapped)

Filming of the third season of Icelandic crime drama Trapped (Ófærð) is scheduled to begin shortly in Siglufjörður, North Iceland, trolli.is reports. Between 60 and 80 people will be working on the shoot, which is to take place between September 24 and October 9. Both season one and two of the popular show were filmed in part in Siglufjörður.

All cast and crew will be staying at hotels and guesthouses in the town of 1,174. One scene will be filmed at the Siglufjörður swimming pool, which will be closed to the public for the duration of filming. The gym and sports facilities at the same location will remain open.

Iceland’s largely successful response to COVID-19 has made it possible for many large-scale film projects to go ahead as planned this year. Regulations have been put in place, however, to minimise the risk of transmission. Presently, production companies in Iceland must apply for a special filming permit that allows actors to be exempted from distancing rules. A COVID safety supervisor must be on set at all times, and makeup and costuming staff are required to wear masks, as is the film crew in spaces where distancing cannot be maintained. Cast and crew will all have their temperature taken daily when arriving on set.

The Trapped team has been working on the show’s third season since as early as December 2018.

Earthquakes Shake North Iceland

An earthquake measuring 5.6 was felt in towns and villages in North Iceland on Saturday afternoon, RÚV reports.

The quake occurred just after 3.00pm, and was centred offshore, roughly 20km (7.5mi) northeast of Siglufjörður. According to the Icelandic Met Office, it came on the heels of a similarly sized quake, measuring 5.3, in the same area, and was felt by residents in Dalvík, Hofsós, Siglufjörður, and Akureyri, and as well as those in the municipality of Hörgársveit, further inland.

The Tjörnes fracture zone started experiencing an earthquake swarm on Friday afternoon, peaking with the 5.6 quake on Saturday. Following this, there were a number of smaller quakes, many of which were measured at a 3.0 or higher.

Though the largest earthquake was felt all around the region, it doesn’t seem to have caused any substantial damage and police in the area said they received fewer calls about it than expected, most likely because sunny weather had taken most people outdoors on Saturday afternoon.

Siglufjörður Residents Celebrate Sun’s Return

Siglufjörður, North Iceland.

Since November 15, the sun hasn’t risen above the mountains in Siglufjörður. Today, residents of the North Iceland town celebrate its return after a 74-day absence during the height of winter. Mbl.is reported first.

Celebrating the return of the sun is a yearly tradition in Siglufjörður. Tucked in a picturesque fjord, the mountains surrounding the town may shelter it from wind and storm, but they also block the sun at the height of winter, when its trajectory is lowest.

The sun’s return is one of the first signs that spring is on the way, and for decades Siglufjörður residents have marked the occasion by serving pancakes and attending a children’s choir performance on the town church’s steps.

The sun’s return is also celebrated annually in Ísafjörður, in the Westfjords, though on January 25, with coffee and pancakes.

Airport Reopens in Siglufjörður

The airport in the North Iceland village of Siglufjörður has reopened after a four-year closure, RÚVreports. Gunnar Birgisson, mayor of Fjallabyggð municipality which Siglufjörður is a part of, says that while the airport may indeed support tourism, its primary purpose in the municipality is to ease access to medical services. “…[I]t gives the residents a sense of security to have the airport open.”

For the time being, the airport will not be serviced by regularly scheduled flights. “…Siglufjörður has now been recognized as a landing site where people can land at their own risk. We’ve marked the landing strip and all that, but we don’t have any signal, airport management, or anything like that.”

As there’s no control tower at the airport, people intending to land in Siglufjörður will need to contact Gunnar or the town engineer to confirm it is safe to land.