Last weekend’s snow storm cancelled all flights to and from Keflavík International Airport yesterday afternoon, and most roads connecting towns around Iceland were closed. Both of these elements led to a busy weekend for the tourism industry and rescue workers alike.
RÚV reports that as a result of the flight cancellations, people who had planned on leaving Iceland yesterday were grounded. At the same time, those planning on arriving today had to cancel hotel reservations. Probably just as well, as those stuck here were forced to book an extra night, resulting in pretty much every hotel in the greater Reykjavík area being fully booked.
Many tourists took the matter in stride, making the most of the snowy conditions and partaking in activities they had originally not had time to engage in. Unfortunately, in some cases this meant creating extra work for Iceland’s rescue workers.
Despite weather warnings issued in English from multiple sources, and the presence of both high winds and heavy snowfall, some tourists opted to take to the road and see some of the countryside. Those who chose to do this learned soon enough that this was a mistake, with some admitting to reporters interviewed that they knew they were taking a chance by driving in this weather.
In fact, about 300 rescue workers were on the job yesterday, mostly engaged in getting people unstuck from snowed-in roads. Davíð Már Bjarnason, a spokesperson for the rescue squad Landsbjörg, emphasised to reporters that “the roads are not closed without a reason”.
As always, we once again wish to remind readers to check the English page for the Icelandic Met Office before traveling. As a general rule of thumb, if you suspect traveling might be a roll of the dice, err on the side of caution and stay put.