Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Weather

On a wintry First Day of Summer travellers are rescued from bus stuck in snow on heath

By Staff

  • Holtavörðuheiði heath The Ring Road between West and North Iceland crosses the heath which had to be closed on the morning of the first day of summer. Photo/GVA

The summer has officially started in Iceland, as Icelanders celebrated the First Day of Summer yesterday. While everyone knows actual summer weather is still several weeks away Icelanders take this day rather seriously: The appropriate greeting on the First Day of Summer and the next couple of days is "Happy Summer".  

Weather 21.4.17

Sunny but chilly The weather forecast for Friday's morning Photo/Icelandic Met Office

Despite this the Icelandic Road and Coastal Authority has warned that conditions on large parts of the Ring Road remain difficult due to ice and icy patches. Travellers are especially cautioned that conditions on most mountain roads are still extremely difficult and that the condition on many heaths can be extremely difficult for small cars not equipped for winter driving.

Rather wintry First Day of Summer
Yesterday's weather was relatively cold and wintry, Teitur Arason, Iceland's most trusted weatherman told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið. "The weather has been unseasonably unstable and erratic in the past few weeks," he told Morgunblaðið. Winter will linger on over the weather he added, but by next week there will be more spring in the air he told Morgunblaðið.

According to an old tradition a frosty morning on the First Day of Summer is foretells a good warm summer. 

Travellers stuck on heaths
A winter storm which hit on the last day of winter caused the Icelandic Road and Coastal Authority to close several heaths in North and West Iceland, including the Ring Road between West and North Iceland. The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV reports that close to 40 foreign travellers had to be rescued after they got stuck on the heath. A trailer truck was blown off the road on the Ring Road over Holtavörðuheiði heath, between N and W Iceland.  

RÚV reports that a tour bus with 17 foreign travellers got stuck on the Ring Road on Öxnadalsheiði heath in North Iceland. Search and Rescue teams had to assist the people from the heath. Several heaths remained closed until late morning yesterday, and Morgunblaðið reports that conditions continue to be very wintry on most heaths and mountain roads.

The IRCA warns that drivers can expect ice and icy patches on the Ring Road where it crosses heaths. People are advised to check road conditions with the IRCA before heading off, and to pay attention to the weather forecast. The weather can change rapidly, and mountain roads and conditions on mountain roads and heaths can change with short notice.

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