The worst storm of year is hitting Iceland, with yellow, orange, and red weather alerts active across the country. It’s the first time a red weather alert has been issued in Iceland since the new warning system was implemented several years ago. Northwest Iceland will experience the worst weather, with wind speeds expected to reach 33 metres per second in the region. Authorities advise residents and visitors in all regions to avoid travel until Wednesday evening.
The red alert was issued in Northwest Iceland, which will experience the worst conditions of the northerly storm. Icelandic Search and Rescue’s PRO Davíð Már Bjarnason told RÚV most calls for assistance have been made from the regions of Tröllaskagi and Skagafjörður. Davíð says rescue teams have been busiest securing flying debris, though they have also been helping individuals reach shelter safely.
In North Iceland, several towns including Dalvík, Sauðárkrókur, and Siglufjörður experienced brief power outages, but were reconnected to their regular lines or reserve power. Ten posts along the Kópasker power line were broken by strong winds, and could take days or weeks to repair. North Iceland Residents are informed to expect power interruptions while the storm lasts.
All flights cancelled
Keflavík’s last arrival this afternoon was at 12.25pm and its last departure at 13.11pm. All flights at the airport have been cancelled this afternoon and some flights scheduled for tomorrow morning have been delayed or cancelled as well.
Risk of avalanches
The storm is heightening the risk of avalanches, particularly in the north of the country. In the northern Westfjords, the risk is considered considerable, while in the Tröllaskagi region, North Iceland, it is high. There is also a moderate danger of avalanches in the Reykjavík capital area and the East Fjords.
Oslo Tree taken down
While the weather is expected to be less extreme in the Reykjavík capital area, the city has taken precautions. The Oslo Tree, which has a history of destruction in storms, has been taken down, as has the Christmas Cat at Lækjartorg square. Grocery stores and schools are closing early, and exams at the University of Iceland have been cancelled.
Buses will continue running as long as weather allows, though passengers can expect disruptions due to road closures later in the day.
Advania is providing a live stream of the weather in central Reykjavík.
Readers can stay updated on weather conditions through Icelandic Met Office and road conditions on road.is.