A flood from the Skaftá River, south-east of Iceland, is expected to reach Kirkjubæjarklaustur this evening. Inhabitants have been advised to find safe land and warned not to venture out onto any local roads. However, the police of Kirkjubæjarklaustur told RÚV that the people are not in any danger.
RÚV reports that the river current from the Vatnajökull glacier rose by 40 centimetres and is flowing at around 280 cubic metres per second, compared to the normal speed of 190. The flood initiated yesterday at 14:00 under the glacier as a result of geothermal heat producing currents of melt water. Consequently, the ice cap moved and released a flood. The last occurrence was in October 2008.
It’s difficult to say when the activity will stop as the river’s exact source underneath the glacier is unknown. However the Icelandic Meteorological Office indicate that it may have reached its limit. “We still don’t know whether the flood will grow or not due to previous patterns.” Explains Óðinn Þórarinsson in an interview with Morgunblaðið, “Floods in the past have looked as though they’ve reached a certain limit but have then carried on growing in size. However, we don’t expect that this flood has yet to grow much larger.”
Photograph courtesy of klausturlif.is