From Iceland — Flooding Reaches Peak, Another on the Way

Flooding Reaches Peak, Another on the Way

Published April 14, 2010

Flooding Reaches Peak, Another on the Way
Andie Sophia Fontaine
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RÚV is now reporting that flooding caused by the new eruption has reached its peak. At the time of this writing, 700 people have been evacuated from the area near the eruption, but it is not expected to get worse than it already is.

The eruption caused the shutting down of air and road traffic around the area, and there was concerns that the flooding would get strong enough to endanger reconstruction efforts of the Þórshöfn harbor. For the moment, that does not seem to be the case.

Farmers were allowed to return home earlier today to feed livestock, but apart from that, no one is allowed in the area at the moment, aside from scientists and emergency workers.

One person who managed to escape the area was Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. He was near the bridge Markafljótsbrú when the flooding began. “It was remarkable to experience that,” he told Vísir. “There was a lot of rushing water, and it got pretty close to the bottom of the bridge for a while there.”

It is at the river Markarfljót where flooding is said by police to be beginning again. All traffic to the area has been closed.

As the eruption is occuring under a glacier, the lava is melting plenty of ice, which can cause heavy flooding. The 1996 eruption of Grímsvötn in the southeast is one of the more recent – and spectacular – examples, as 3000 billion cubic feet of water rushed out from under the glacier in just a few hours.

RÚV took some aerial video of the new eruption, which you can watch here.

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