Norway’s Summer Heatwave

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Summer in Hammerfest

Temperature records have tumbled in the north of Norway this summer, but the impact of the heatwave has been felt far and wide.

Wow, what a scorcher! Like much of Europe, Norway has been basking in record-breaking heat for much of July.

While some Norwegians have missed all the fun and games by heading away for their summer vacation, others have enjoyed the beaches and fjords closer to home.

Heat records in Arctic Norway

In the middle of July on Norway's border with Russia, the temperature reached 33.3C, an all-time record for Finnmark, Norway's northernmost county. Similar records tumbled across the borders in Sweden, Finland and Russia.

Summer sun in Tromsø
Tromsø, Northern Norway

Even in Båtsfjord, a small town on the normally windy Barents Sea coast, the temperature reached 30C.

I was in Alta last week and experienced an astonishing 31C (88F). While that might not sound like much to some people, bear in mind that Alta is on the same latitude as the northern half of Canada's Nunavut and Northwest Territories.

But with the heat has come a lot of issues.

Heat drives reindeer into tunnels

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration urged drivers to beware of reindeer in road tunnels. The animals – many of which roam free across northern regions – have been seeking cooler temperatures in the shade.

An icebreaker in Kirkenes port
A more usual sight in Finnmark!

Reindeer wandering onto roads in Nordland, Troms and Finnmark is a common sight, and it's not rare to find them in tunnels, but the high temperatures has increased the frequency.

Melting Nigardsbreen glacier kills tourist

An Austrian man died after a huge block of ice calved off the Nigardsbreen glacier, dragging him into the fast-flowing meltwater, according to a report in The Local.

The man was one of a group of over ten who ignored warning signs and got too close to the famous glacier. Three of them ended up in the water, but only two managed to escape.

The Nigardsbreen glacier in Norway

The leader of the guides’ association in the region told NRK that other tourists had narrowly escaped similar accidents earlier in the summer. The unusually hot temperatures have made the glacier unstable.

Oslofjord oysters warning

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has advised people not to eat oysters from the Oslofjord after to an outbreak of bacteria related to the warm weather. The warning extends down the Telemark coast.

Several people have already fallen ill after swimming in the Oslofjord due to the Vibrio bacteria. The bacteria is only normally present in warmer waters and can cause serious sickness.

Oysters from the Oslofjord in Norway

The authorities say that no-one has become sick from oysters yet, but they have issued the warning as a precaution. The danger with oysters disappears by heat treatment, and when the water temperature drops below 20C for a few days.

Wildfires in the Barents region

Norway sent six fire-fighting helicopters across the border to Sweden, which has suffered greatly with wildfires. Tens of thousands of people were warned to remain inside and close windows and vents to avoid smoke inhalation.

There have been huge fires in the past in Sweden, but not over such a wide area. Meanwhile, across the border in Russia, a total of 20 large fires have been registered on the Kola peninsula.

“The volunteers would go into the smoke and come back spitting and wiping sweat from their brows.  They would get some more water and head back up the mountain 300 meters away to where the flames are. The ground under their feet was black and burning. They didn’t have either gas masks or respirators. Their eyes were red and inflamed and gusts of wind raised clouds of ash and smoke” – Barents Observer

Here in Trondheim, the temperature on our terrace reached 34C on one stunning afternoon. What to do? There's only one thing for it…

Celebrating Norway's National Day in a very British style, with a beer on our balcony.


About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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2 thoughts on “Norway’s Summer Heatwave”

  1. Hi,
    We are leaving for a Norwegian cruise tomorrow, from Australia, and have really enjoyed reading your weekly really informative and interesting articles.
    Has been very helpful regarding the clothes we will need.


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