Severe weather in parts of Iceland

Iceland has experienced strong winds and heavy snowfall in the last couple of days and conditions in the northwest are particularly hard today, with people advised to simply stay at home.

All major roads in the northern Westfjords are impassable due to snow and wind today and this afternoon’s forecast is even worse.

Súðavíkurhlíð road between the towns of Ísafjörður and Súðavík has been completely closed due to the risk of avalanche; but while it is still permissible to drive on other roads authorities are warning people not to try — even in big 4×4 vehicles.

The towns of Bolungarvík, Hnífsdalur, Ísafjörður, Súðavík, Suðureyri, Flateyri, Þingeyri, Bíldudalur, Tálknafjörður and Patreksfjörður are all essentially cut off from each other and the rest of Iceland. Hólmavík, Drangsnes and Reykhólar are still reachable from elsewhere in Iceland; although road conditions are difficult. No flights are realistically expected today due to wind.

The head of police in Ísafjörður, Önundur Jónsson says: “We advise people to stay home as much as possible and to absolutely not travel those roads which are barely even passable with the biggest vehicles. The snow is wet and heavy and there are high winds everywhere out on the roads”.

The elementary school in Ísafjörður will close at 13.00 today because of the worsening weather and there is considered to be a raised risk of avalanches across the region.

In Reykjavík over 70 workers are clearing snow this afternoon, reportedly with some success; although the snow is still falling heavily and traffic is delayed – including city buses. West and north Iceland are braced for severe weather this evening and night.

The weather forecast tomorrow is for little or no wind and clear blue skies – and later in the week warmer temperatures are expected to begin melting the deep snow once again.