Norway’s most powerful storm in more than three decades ripped off roofs, heightened avalanche risks, canceled flights and cut power as it raged in parts of the Scandinavian country Thursday.
Hurricane-force winds brought gusts of up to 112 miles per hour in some places. A new national wind speed record of 121.7 miles per hour was recorded locally early Thursday on the island of Soemma, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute said.
Near Laerdal, a small, picturesque town northeast of Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, a bus with 14 passengers was blown off a road, though no injuries were reported, police said.
Some areas flooded, and airlines and ferry operators suspended service. There were scattered reports of closed schools, roads, tunnels and bridges because of strong wind, rain and snow. An estimated 12,000 households were without power.
Hurricane-strength gusts were also reported overnight in Sweden. The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute issued a red warning, its highest alert, for the western part of the Norrbottens district, which borders Norway. Local media reported that schools shut down in the Swedish town of Kiruna.
The storm, named Ingunn by Norwegian meteorologists, landed in central Norway on Wednesday afternoon before moving north Thursday. The Meteorological Institute issued a red warning for the Arctic region and several avalanche warnings.
Windows were blown out in a hotel in Bodoe, a town in Nordland district, police said, adding that downtown Bodoe was later sealed off because “there is a danger to life and health.”
The University Hospital of North Norway said part of a roof was damaged at its branch on Norway’s largest island, Hinnoeya. Photos in Norwegian media showed a helicopter landing pad littered with debris.
“Roof tiles are flying everywhere throughout the town and visibility is poor,” Harstad town spokesperson Øivind Arvola told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. Local police confirmed debris was flying around.
The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, known as NVE, issued its highest avalanche warnings for most of southern and central Norway for the coming days. The agency also warned of a considerable risk for landslides, mudslides and flash floods for the same period.
Bjørnar Gaasvik, a police spokesperson in the Troendelag region, told Norwegian news agency NTB that the public safety agency received between 40 and 50 reports overnight from people affected by the storm and more were expected Thursday.
Sigmund Clementz of IF insurance told Norwegian newspaper VG that it was too early to estimate the cost of the storm damage.
To the south in Denmark, the Storebaelt bridge linking two major Danish islands was closed to vehicles with light trailers because of strong winds.
The storm hit the same area as a 1992 New Year’s hurricane, one of the strongest storms in Norway’s history, the newspaper VG said.