Being British, it's about time I talked about the weather.
This, my third winter in Norway, is shaping up to be the weirdest so far.
While most of the United States was buried under snow dumped on them by the infamous polar vortex, the majority of Norway is enjoying a mild winter. Not just mild in temperature, but also a lack of the white stuff.
As a native Brit, mild winters are absolutely fine by me. But my ski-loving Norwegian friends (or more accurately, all my Norweian friends) are distraught at the lack of snow.
Central Norway in particular is suffering, with just one major snowfall to date, back in November. Barely a snowflake has fallen since then. Here's what Trondheim looks like, right now, in the middle of winter:
Oslo and Southern Norway has been hogging all the snow this winter – the Oslo region has seen snowfall every day over the past two weeks.
But what we have had up here in Central Norway is wind.
Seemingly never-ending gale-force winds battering us for what seems like months.
Back in December I was on a plane that was diverted to Ålesund when Trondheim's airport was closed, along with the entire city centre, all public transport, and all tunnels, because of the storm Ivar. I had to endure a bus ride home, taking seven hours, two ferries and a hair-raising section of icy mountain road.
This is how strong Storm Ivar was:
All through January strong winds were a daily occurrence, and while not quite as severe as in the video above, they still caused inconvenience.
I don't know all the facts, but I suspect the lack of snow and strong winds have directly contributed to the severe fires that have hit Norway in recent weeks.
As newspaper Dagbladet put it, Norge Brenner (Norway burns):
- Lærdal – a portion of this historic wooden town was destroyed
- Flatanger – Wild fires spread across the peninsular, destroying around 100 buildings
- Frøya – Hundreds of people were evacuated from several villages as almost 100 buildings were lost
- Update: Sandsøya – No sooner had I published this blog post, another fire hits Sandsøya, near Ålesund
It's been so sad to watch so many different parts of Norway destroyed by fire, and as the temperatures drop, I can't help but feel for the families who've lost their homes.
The wind took hold of the sparks and spread the fire to a house 200 meters away (Vinden tok tak i gnistene og spredte brannen til hus 200 meter inna) – NRK
Dear weather gods, what's going on?
Love, David xx
Photo credit: Erik Veland