Southern Norway enters July with record 10 m (32 feet) of snow

More than 10 m (32 feet) of snow accumulated in parts of southern Norway by July, according to the BKK energy company, who is conducting clearing operations to prevent flooding in the mountains. The region is currently so cold that the snow is hardly melting, but the situation could change with heavy rainfall, causing rapid melting.

„We have not had such [heavy] snowfall as this year,“ said Knut Kinne, watercourse technical manager at BKK. 

Reservoirs are almost full, there’s lots of snow and sealed channels, threatening mountainous regions of southern Norway, Kinne said. The goal of snow removal is to prevent melting into the almost full channels, BKK said.

Snow removal in southern Norway – July 2020. Credit: BKK

Even with all the snow removed from the channels, Kinne is not sure there won’t be floods in the region. There can be large amounts of rainfall causing rapid melting and risking overflow, he explained.

„It can be quite local in the mountains if it melts intensely, but it is not something we see immediately on meteorological forecasts,“ hydrologist Knut Ola Aamodt said.

According to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), the flood warning is currently green as the region is currently so cold that the snow is hardly melting.

Just a few days ago, Oppland County, located in the southern region near Lillehammer, at about 2 000 m (6 562 feet) above sea level, registered -6.3 °C (20.7 °F), breaking the previous record cold temperature set in 1964.

In early July, 35 cm (14 inches) of snow fell in some parts of the country. While accumulations of about 5 cm (2 inches) are possible in July, totals of more than that are almost unheard of.

Three major roads that link east and west Norway were disrupted, and drivers were urged to revert to using winter tires.


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