08 August 2023

Warning of ‘extremely heavy rainfall’ after Storm Hans hits northern Europe

08 August 2023

Norwegians have been warned to prepare for “extremely heavy rainfall” after Storm Hans caused two deaths and extensive damage in northern Europe.

Strong winds continued to batter the region along with heavy rain, causing disruption in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia and Latvia.

Ferries were cancelled, flights were delayed, roads and streets were flooded, trees were uprooted, people were injured by falling branches and thousands remained without electricity.

In Oslo, officials urged people to work from home on Tuesday. On its website, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate warned of “extremely heavy rainfall” in southern Norway, adding “unnecessary traffic should be avoided”.

“This is a very serious situation that can lead to extensive consequences and damages. There will be extensive flooding, erosion damage and flood damages to buildings and infrastructure,” it said.

In Finland, authorities urged people to rethink whether “it is necessary to go out” to sea.

Floods and landslides closed dozens of roads in southern Norway and neighbouring Sweden and dozens of people have been evacuated following the storm.

There scattered reports of helicopters being used to fly people out of affected areas.

Denmark’s Meteorological Institute reported of waves of up to eight metres (26 feet) and beach houses were seen washed into the North Sea.

On Monday, a 50-year old woman was killed in Lithuania by falling trees near the Latvian border. In central Sweden, a train was partly derailed because the embankment under the rails had been washed away. Three were people were slightly injured.

Also in Latvia, near the Belarus border, a second person died on Monday when a tree fell on him, Latvian television said.

Norwegian authorities kept the extreme weather warning alert at its highest level in southern Norway due to heavy rain, mudslides and flash floods. They also sent out text messages in several foreign languages, including English, to holidaymakers warning of the bad weather.

In the Swedish town of Are, a ski resort, roads and streets were flooded.

The Susaback river that runs through Are, 331 miles from Stockholm, went over its banks and flooded much of the centre. Authorities urged people to stay indoors.

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