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Norway to revamp alert system to ensure tourists are aware of dangerous weather

Not enough tourists are notified of potentially treacherous conditions or dangerous weather, and a new system is being worked on, the Directorate for Social Security and Preparedness has said. 

Pictured are hikers on Galdhøpiggen, Scandinavia's tallest mountain.
Tourists in Norway aren't always warned about dangerous weather. Pictured are hikers on Galdhøpiggen, Scandinavia's tallest mountain. Photo by Rachel Ellis on Unsplash

A lot of dangerous weather warnings fail to reach the tourists who come to Norway in their droves for activity holidays or to take in the stunning scenery, according to the Directorate for Social Security and Preparedness (DSB). 

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute uses three colours for its weather warnings. The first is yellow, which means challenging weather. Then there is orange, meaning a serious situation. And finally, there is the red warning, which warns of extreme weather. 

However, in the event of a yellow warning, there is a limit to how municipalities can contact people in the area. 

“It is largely based on people having to follow along (with the situation) themselves,” the emergency manager at Vestland County, Håvard Stensvand, told public broadcaster NRK.

This means it is up to tourists and visitors to keep themselves informed of adverse weather situations, as they may only be forewarned of the most extreme conditions. 

“With the current arrangements, our experience so far indicates that it is unfortunately not possible to reach everyone with this type of information,” the acting director of the DSB told NRK. 

By the end of the year, the directorate hopes to implement a new system using different technology that will send all phones connected to the nearby mobile network a message warning of the weather. 

Some local authorities had raised concerns that the current system meant that alerts were only sent to the phone registered to residents in the area

The new system should then ensure those visiting the area will also be warned about potentially dangerous conditions. 

Where to check for weather warnings

The most popular service for checking the weather in Norway is “Yr” The service is run by the Meteorological Institute and NRK. 

You can either head to the website or download the app on IOS or Android to use the service. 

You will receive warnings of adverse weather conditions there. On the website, you can check specifically to see whether there are any weather warnings across Norway. You can also get an overview of weather warnings and report any adverse conditions yourself on varsom.no

If you are in area with a lot of tourism, it is worth also checking with the local tourist office, due to their specialised knowledge of the local area. 

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WILDFIRES

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.

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