While weather is calming down in West Iceland, the worst storm of the year is moving eastward across the country. Conditions are yet to worsen before they improve in the Northeast, East, and Southeast regions of the country. Most major roads in those regions are closed and power outages are affecting residents in both North and East Iceland. No casualties have resulted from the storm.
Egilsstaðir, East Iceland’s largest town, was reported to be without power around 10.00am this morning. According to Landsnet, power went out around 10.30am this morning in East Iceland between Vopnafjörður and Höfn. Wind speeds have reached 38 metres per second along the country’s east coast, and in Hamarsfjörður gusts of wind reached speeds of 50m/s.
Sauðárkrókur was left without electricity when transmission lines were damaged yesterday evening. Firefighters were working early this morning to clean the lines of ice and snow in an attempt to get them working again.
Near Akureyri and Dalvík, as well as in other regions, live power lines weighed down with ice and snow are sagging dangerously close to roads.
This morning, RÚV reported that the Westfjords were not receiving power through the national transmission system and all towns in the region were running on reserve power. Outages are still occurring in less populated parts of the region, such as Árneshreppur and Gufudalssveit.
Search and rescue busy
In Suðurnes, Southwest Iceland, search and rescue teams responded to nearly 100 calls yesterday evening alone. At Ólafsvík, North Iceland, some 20 search and rescue volunteers were on duty overnight, but as the storm winds down, many have been sent home. Search and rescue officials stated that the public seems to have taken the weather alerts seriously and was overall well prepared.
On the Westman Islands, wind and flying debris caused significant property destruction. Wind speeds on Heimaey island reached 40 metres per second yesterday evening, with gusts as fast as 52m/s. As of this morning, search and rescue teams on the island had responded to 100 calls. “I don’t know what we Icelanders would do if it weren’t for search and rescue forces,” stated Westman Islands Mayor Íris Róbertsdóttir.
Though weather is improving along the country’s west coast, most road still remain impassable across the country. Readers are advised to stay updated on road conditions and weather conditions online and avoid travel.