Shropshire Star

More evacuations considered in Norway as water levels rise

Days of torrential rain have swollen rivers and lakes in the south-east of the country.

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Flooding in Norway

More evacuations are being considered in south-eastern Norway, where the level of water in swollen rivers and lakes continues to grow after days of torrential rain.

Huge amounts of water, littered with broken trees, debris and trash, were thundering down the usually serene rivers. It flooded abandoned houses, left cars coated in mud and swamped camping sites.

One of the worst-affected places was the town of Honefossen where the Begna river had burst its banks and authorities were considering moving more people downstream amid fears of landslides.

Up to 2,000 people have already been evacuated.

Flooding in Norway
A cottage floats towards the Braskreidfoss Power plant in Braskereidfoss (NTB Scanpix via AP)

“We constantly try to think a few steps ahead. We are ready to press an even bigger red button,” Magnus Nilholm, a local emergency manager in the Hønefossen region, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Ivar Berthling of Norway’s water resources and energy directorate (NVE) told Norwegian news agency NTB that the water levels around Honefossen, some 25 miles north of Oslo, were expected to continue rising and remain high until at least Monday.

Up north, near the Strondafjorden lake, the water level was reported to be 8.2ft above normal.

“We are still facing critical days,” the Ringerike municipality, where Honefossen lies, said in a statement.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store was to visit Honefossen later on Friday while King Harald and Queen Sonja will visit the headquarters of the NVE.

Norway Weather
Extreme weather has caused severe damage to travel infrastructure (NTB Scanpix via AP)

Authorities did not provide a nationwide count of evacuees. According to a rough estimate, damage could so far amount to one billion kroner (nearly £78.5 million).

People have been urged not to check on their cabins in the devastated part of the country.

“Hytte”, the Norwegian word for cabin, is part of the Scandinavian country’s outdoors lifestyle, and thousands of Norwegians have access to a cabin – some in the mountains, others by the coast – that they use as a retreat from everyday life.

“We fully understand that many cabin owners are anxious about the cabin’s condition after the ravages of the extreme weather, but we hope people will abstain now from making the trip just to check,” Lars Aune of the National Police said in a statement. “This is to avoid unnecessary strain on exposed roads.”

Storm Hans battered northern Europe earlier this week, leading to transportation disruption, flooding and power cuts across the Nordic and Baltic region. At least three people were killed.

South-eastern Norway was particularly badly affected. A hydroelectric river dam collapsed on Wednesday as water forced its way through, and earlier this week a train derailed in neighbouring Sweden when a railway embankment was washed away by floods.

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