Peace Tower Lighting Ceremony Cancelled Due to Weather

Imagine Peace Tower

The annual lighting of the Imagination Peace Tower ceremony on the island of Víðey just off the coast of Reykjavík has been cancelled due to inclement weather. Per an announcement on the City of Reykjavík’s website, Sunday’s planned celebrations have been called off due to wind warnings in Faxaflói Bay, where Víðey is located.

The Imagine Peace Tower is an outdoor artwork by Yoko Ono in memory of her late husband, John Lennon. The white stone monument emits a tower of light, which extends upward at least 4,000 metres (13,100 feet) on a clear night. The words “Imagine Peace” are inscribed on the monument in 24 languages. The tower is lit every year from October 9th, Lennon’s birthday, through December 8th, the date of his assassination. It has been lit every year since 2007.

Lighting will be livestreamed

Typically, free ferries transport guests to Víðey on the evening of the lighting to observe the ceremony and participate in a variety of activities, from live music performances to guided history walks around the island.

Although the in-person ceremony has been cancelled this year, the tower will still be lit as usual, at 8:00PM local time. The lighting will be broadcast live on the Imagine Peace Tower website and RÚV’s television and radio schedule on Sunday evening will include a number of related content, such as a TV segment on the history of the tower, and a radio documentary about the life of John Lennon. His song “Imagine” will also be broadcast at 8:00PM, when the tower is lit.

More Extreme Weather On Saturday

Tourists walk carefully during extreme weather in Reykjavík

Iceland is bracing itself for more difficult weather this weekend, Visír reports. The Icelandic Met Office has issued yellow warnings for most of the country and orange alerts for South and Southeast Iceland where conditions are expected to be the worst.

Windspeeds of 23 – 30 m/s are expected in South Iceland, with the worst gales around the Eyjafjöll mountains, where they could reach up to 50 m/s.

Snowfall and poor visibility are also expected, as well as rain or sleet in the lowlands in the afternoon.

Winds in Southeast Iceland are likely to reach 23 – 28 m/s and that region can also expect considerable precipitation. The windiest part of the Southeast will be around Öræfi, particularly around the mountains, where wind speeds may also exceed 50 m/s.

The weather is supposed to clear considerably in most parts of the country on Sunday but travelling on Saturday is strongly discouraged. Check road.is for current advisories and road conditions.

All Roads Out of Reykjavík Likely Closed Tomorrow

weather warning

 

Extreme weather will likely close all roads in and out of Reykjavík tomorrow starting at noon, RÚV reports. Most of the proposed closures in the capital area are expected to last until Wednesday afternoon. Road closures due to violent winds and heavy snowfall are expected throughout the country on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Road and Coastal Administration has published a list of roads that may be closed tomorrow due to weather. The road closures include Route 1 (the Ring Road), both toward South Iceland and West Iceland. Route 41, which connects the capital region to Keflavík Airport, is also expected to be closed from noon tomorrow until 1.00pm on Wednesday.

Airport staff and rescue teams on standby

Ásdís Ýr Pétursdóttir, Icelandair’s PRO, stated that the airline was considering what effect the road closure and weather will have on flights at Keflavík Airport, but that it was too early to say. Search and rescue representatives have met with authorities to prepare for the coming weather.

Residents and tourists alike are advised against travelling in Iceland tomorrow. Weather and travel conditions are updated regularly on Safetravel’s website.

Extreme Weather Across Iceland Into Wednesday

weather warning

The Icelandic Met Office advises against travel in Iceland tomorrow and Wednesday, as extreme winter weather is forecast across most of the country. Southwest, West, and North Iceland will see the worst conditions, which include blizzards and strong winds, while those in East Iceland can also expect fairly strong winds. Weather is expected to improve by early Thursday morning.

Stormy conditions are expected tomorrow in the Reykjavík area starting around 4.00pm, with winds reaching 20-28 metres per second. In Southwest Iceland, conditions will be similar, with wind speeds of 20-28 metres per second. Road closures are expected in the area from tomorrow afternoon. Wind speeds will decrease in the region early on Wednesday but remain high under Eyjafjöll at 23-33m/s.

Road closures expected

In West Iceland, north of Reykjavík, winds of 20-28m/s are expected, while further north in Breiðafjörður fjord, wind speeds could reach 23-30m/s, with blowing snow limiting visibility. The Westfjords and Northwest Iceland are expected to receive heavy snowfall and winds of 23-33m/s, with snowstorms limiting visibility and transport disturbances expected.

Stormy conditions are also expected in the Eyjafjörður area in North Iceland, with conditions improving as one heads east. The Northeast and East of the country will only have slightly better weather, however, still experiencing blizzard conditions and strong winds. Southeast Iceland will likely experience less precipitation, though violent wind gusts will make driving dangerous, particularly on Wednesday morning.

As is usual at this time of year, the Central Highlands are inaccessible to travellers.

Flying debris likely

Flying debris is likely, and construction workers are encouraged to secure construction sites. Residents are also asked to secure outdoor furniture and belongings. Travelling is not advised while the weather warning is in effect.

As of writing, road.is reports snow showers across South and West Iceland, and roads are reported to be snow-covered, icy, or slippery across the country. Those in Iceland are advised to keep tabs on travel conditions on the Safetravel website.

Weather Advisory in Southeast Iceland

Rain in Reykjavík

Strong winds and heavy rain are expected in the Southeast and East of Iceland through the day and into tomorrow morning, according to the Icelandic Met Office. Travellers and residents in the Eastfjords can expect easterly winds at 10-15 metres per second and moderate to heavy rainfall. In Southeast Iceland, winds will range from 13-18 metres per second, with moderate to heavy rain in the eastern part of the region.

Higher water levels in rivers and increased runoff could lead to higher risk of flooding and landslides. Weather conditions should improve around 7.00am tomorrow morning. Travellers are encouraged to follow weather conditions closely.

ICE-SAR Hard at Work Freeing Stranded Vehicles During Friday Blizzard

Cars trapped on the road

As many as 80 Search and Rescue members were called out to help people in weather-related difficulties on Friday, mbl.is reports.

Yellow and Orange weather advisories were in effect throughout the country on Friday, with hurricane-strength winds and blizzard conditions making driving particularly dangerous.

Unsurprisingly, then, one of ICE-SAR’s primary tasks that day was to help drivers dig out their cars after becoming stuck in snowdrifts or sliding off of icy roads. Around twenty Search and Rescue volunteers went to work on the Eyjafjörður fjord in North Iceland, where multiple cars had gotten stuck, but there were also call-outs around towns in East Iceland, South Iceland, and around the capital area.

Yellow and Orange Weather Alerts Around Iceland

winter tires reykjavík

The Icelandic Met Office has issued a series of serious weather warnings for much of the country on Friday.

An orange alert has been issued for Northeast Iceland, the East Fjords, and Eastern coastal areas, where blizzard conditions are expected to begin in the early morning and continue as late as 7:00 pm. Hurricane-strength winds and moderate to heavy snowfall is expected. Slippery, snow-covered roads and limited visibility make travel inadvisable from Varmahlíð to Akureyri, Akureyri to Egilsstaðir, and Egilsstaðir to Djúpivógur.

Yellow warnings are in effect for Reykjavík and the surrounding capital area, as well as Northwest Iceland, the Southeast, and the Central Highlands. Considerable snowfall and hurricane-strength winds of up to 28 m/s are expected between Vík and Djúpivogur between noon and midnight and as such, travel is, during this time, inadvisable in the region.

There is also considerable danger of avalanches (3 on a scale of 5) in the Westfjords and mountainous areas around Reykjavík.

You can keep up to date on the most recent weather alerts by checking the Icelandic Met’s English-language page, here. Safetravel.is is another very good source of travel and weather advisories in Icelandic, English, French, German, and Chinese.

Wind and Wave Warning This Weekend

A low-pressure area off the southwest coast of Iceland will bring gale-force winds in that region and will likely trigger waves of up to 13 m [43 ft], Vísir reports.

These waves will not merely be out at sea but will also be in evidence along the southern and western coastlines, particularly in the later part of the day and evening on Friday. As much of Route 1 and other main roadways travel along the coast in these regions, travellers are advised to be cautious.

Alerts posted on safetravel.is similarly advise that “very strong and hazardous” waves at Reynisfjara beach on the South Coast are expected for the whole weekend. Visitors should “[u]se extra caution, stay WELL back from the water, and [not] leave children unattended.” No one should attempt to enter the cave at Reynisfjara during this time, either.

Safetravel.is also notes that Friday evening will being high winds of up to 40m/s [144 km/h;  90 mph] “in the north and east from Hvammstangi to Egilsstaðir and in the highlands.” Drivers are advised to reduce their speed when driving in these areas.

You can check Safetravel.is for weather alerts in Icelandic. English, French, German, and Chinese.

Travel Advisory: Glacial Flood in South Iceland

The Icelandic Met Office has issued a travel advisory for Southern Iceland, where the Skaftá river is expected to experience a glacial outburst flood (jökulhlaup) over the next few days. According to the announcement, “GPS measurements from the eastern Skaftá cauldron on Vatnajökull show that the ice-shelf above the lake is lowering. This is an early sign of the onset of an outburst flood (jökulhlaup), which will affect the river Skaftá in southern Iceland. The jökulhlaup is expected to reach the edge of Vatnajökull late on Friday 3 August, with the peak of the flood possible during the early hours of Sunday 5 August.”

Travellers are strongly advised to avoid travel near the Skaftá river during the coming days. The advisory also notes that “in addition to flooding along Skaftá, gas pollution from the floodwater could affect the region, particularly at the edge of Skaftárjökull.”

A glacial outburst flood is a subglacial outburst of water usually triggered by geothermal heating and occasionally by eruptions.

According to Hulda Rós Helgadóttir, a natural disaster expert working for the Met Office who spoke to RÚV about the event, the flooding, which began around 1:00 PM local time on Friday, started much earlier than scientists anticipated. Based on measurements and data from the last glacial outburst flood, which took place in 2015, it’s currently expected that the flood waters will take 10 – 12 hours to reach the Ring Road (Route 1).