Assessing the Damage After the Storm

Reports have been coming in all morning as Iceland takes stock after yesterday’s violent storm. According to the Iceland Monitor, the winds that hit the eastern part of the country exceeded the designation for hurricane level by two-fold, peaking at 260 km per hour (160 mph). The storm was not technically a hurricane, however, because of the lack of rain and thunder. Rather, it should be termed a “polar low” or “Arctic depression.”

Over 700 Search and Rescue workers were on high alert throughout the night, responding to well over 300 calls for assistance. Despite the seriousness of the storm and the frequent distress calls—mostly from citizens grappling with damage to property—no major accidents or injuries have been reported.

Although the extent of overall damage is still being assessed in the aftermath of the storm, it is apparent that the parts of the country that experienced the largest impact were the Westman Islands and Southeast Iceland. That being said, no region of Iceland was entirely unaffected.

It has been reported that at least two small boats in the Reykjavík harbor sank in the course of the night. Several videos have been released by local news websites, the footage depicting the extremely choppy conditions of the harbor. Roof tiles went flying and window panes were shattered in the wind in the capital area, while in the West Fjörds an abandoned house was entirely blown down.

Today, most roads have been reopened, busses are running, flights are back on track, and shops and schools are open for business. Parents have been asked to accompany their children and to remain aware that travel times may be significantly longer due to slush and ice on the roads.