Norway counts cost of Christmas hurricane

Thousands of households were cut off from the outside world on Tuesday morning, while thousands more remained without power as the hurricane that hit Norway over the Christmas weekend continues to leave its mark.

Norway counts cost of Christmas hurricane
Photo: Robert Kleiven/Scanpix

The weather front, dubbed Dagmar, is already believed to have wreaked more damage than Berit, the violent storm that battered Norway late last month.

Around 7,300 homes were still without electricity on Tuesday morning, while coastal areas were again pummeled by powerful winds.

“Winds have reached strong gale force for the most part and may develop into a full storm,” said meteorologist Anna Reistad in western Norway.  

“The winds are then going to turn in a westerly direction and weaken to strong gales. It looks like the worst is over,” she added.

Several thousand residents in Årdal and Høyanger were cut off from the rest of the country following landslides and high winds in the early hours of Tuesday morning, while dozens of inhabitants in Høyanger and Jølster were evacuated from their homes as a result of the heightened landslide risk.  

Strong winds are forecast to return to Norway on Wednesday, but these will mainly be confined to the Rogaland area.  

Storm Dagmar brought hurricane force winds to many parts of the country on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. In Kråkenes, average wind speeds were clocked at 160.6 kilometres per hour.

National grid operator Statnett said around 100,000 people were left without electricity on Monday morning, and 7,300 households in Årdal and Høyanger were still without power on Tuesday morning.

With insurance firms already receiving more than 500 damage claims, Dagmar is expected to cost much more than Berit, which left a trail of destruction estimated at 275 million kroner (€46 million).

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Partial lunar eclipse to be visible over parts of Norway

People in parts of Norway may be able to witness a partial lunar eclipse on Friday. 

Pictured is a lunar eclipse
Friday will see a partial lunar eclipse over Norway. Pictured is a lunar eclipse. Photo by Roger Starnes Sr on Unsplash

On Friday morning, the sun, the earth and the moon will align, causing a partial lunar eclipse. Friday’s celestial showcase will be an almost total lunar eclipse, with only a tiny part of the moon not ending up in the earth’s shadow. 

The eclipse will be most visible at 10:03am, when 98 percent of the moon will be in shadow. 

The moon will take on a reddish tinge as sunlight that passes through the earth’s atmosphere will be refracted back onto the moon. 

People in the north of Norway will have the best eclipse experience because the moon doesn’t go down until later in the morning at higher latitudes. The weather will also be better further north, according to forecasts. 

Residents of east and west Norway hoping for a show may have their views hindered by clouds. 

“If you are lucky, you’ll be able to see it from several parts of the country,” Randveig Eikhild from the Meteorological Institute told public broadcaster NRK

The best place to see the eclipse will be somewhere with a good clear view of the horizon, without mountains, hills or buildings in the way. 

For those in the south, where the view may not be the best due to the brighter mornings, there’s another celestial event on Friday that they will be able to witness. 

Once the sun goes down, gas giants Jupiter and Saturn will be visible in the night sky and very close together. Saturn won’t be visible from the north, however. 

“Jupiter and Saturn are quite close to each other and are beautiful in the fall. However, they are not always as close as they are now. It can be a very nice sight,” Pål Brekke, from the Norwegian Space Centre, explained to NRK.