South Iceland glacial flood gearing up for second wave?

There are signs that another glacial flood could be starting from the eastern Skaftarkatli crater under South Iceland’s Vatnajokull glacier. There is no imminent danger to travellers.

The Icelandic Met Office has recorded data from Vatnajokull which suggests a new flood could very well be starting from the eastern crater, following the flood from the western crater this weekend.

A jökulhlaup flood will not be officially declared until water levels in the river begin to rise — something which has not yet happened.

If the levels do start to rise soon, it is predicted the flood will reach its peak on Friday. Because it comes so soon after the last jökulhlaup, a big flood is not expected — although it could be significantly bigger than the one last weekend, which is still not completely over.

All roads remain open as usual, although the possible flood could close the road through Skaftardalur, Skaftartunguvegur at Hvammur and the road by Holaskjol in Fjallabaksleid at the peak of its flow.

Travellers are advised to consult for road conditions before setting off and to avoid exploring the upstream areas of the Skaftar river for the time being — not just because the flood could be sudden, but also because the water might contain harmful volcanic chemicals.

South Iceland infrastructure is designed to withstand glacial flood waters and damage to bridges is uncommon following floods which are not particularly large.

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