Springtime cold snap causing concern

Iceland was hit with an unusual springtime cold snap on Monday and it looks set to continue into the weekend and beyond.

A short cold spell at this time of year is not necessarily a problem; but ornithologists are concerned that a week-long cold period, as is predicted now, could adversely affect nesting birds and even kill some smaller species. Due to a relatively warm spring so far, a lot of birds have already begun nesting. There are also fears for delicate new growth on trees and other plants.

Temperatures in northeast Iceland could dip as low as -5°C at the weekend, with snow and sleet in much of the north and east. A slight warming on Sunday and Monday is predicted; but that will not bring temperatures back up to average.

The unusual combination of stiff northerly breezes and thick cloud cover are bringing in cold air from the Arctic at the same time as preventing the warm May sunshine penetrating to ground level.

Drivers in the north and east of Iceland are being advised not to travel if the weather gets bad over the weekend — especially as summer tyres should now be on all cars. Farmers are also being advised to be cautious, as the lambing season is in full swing and many have already allowed their cows outside for the summer.

Icelandic weather forecasts can be tracked, in English, here.