From Iceland — Four-Day Battle With a Five-Meter-Deep Snowdrift

Four-Day Battle With a Five-Meter-Deep Snowdrift

Published May 22, 2020

Nico Borbely
Photo by
Vísir/Icelandic Road Administration

All in all it took four days to break through a thick snowdrift which accumulated over the course of the winter on the road into Mjóafjörður. The road is now open again after having been closed since around October.

Foreman at the Reyðarfjörður service center of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration Ari B. Guðmundsson stated on the Administration’s website, “We started shoveling the snow away last Friday. We continued on Monday and a narrow path, complete with corners to pull over for oncoming cars, and were completed by the middle of the day on Wednesday.”

After four days of hard work, the road into Mjóafjörður has been opened, though it was not easy to clear through the thick snowdrift previously present there, Fréttablaðið reports.

14 Residents In The Winter

The road was first closed in October last year. It was cleared around the middle of the month for the emergency services, who had to move in equipment to place fiber-optic cables in Mjóafjörður. It was cleared again at the end of November and beginning of December to transport the equipment back out of Mjóafjörður. The road was left open just a little longer in order to allow the Minister of Transportation to inaugurate the cables and has been closed since shortly thereafter, until now.

About 14 people live in Mjóafjörður all year around, and they have everything they need in Brekkuþorp. In the winter the road is often closed, and the only way in or out is by boat, at which time the ferry Björgvin sails between Brekkuþorp and Neskaupstaður twice a week.

Road Closed For Half A Year

According to locals there was an usually high quantity of snow this year. Work on the tunnel will continue over the next few days, but at first there will only be Jeeps on the road. Four-wheel drives should be able to get on the road by tomorrow, but smaller private cars are likely to pass only after the weekend.

According to Ari, weather conditions will greatly influence when the road in Mjóafjörður is cleared. “Sometimes when there is little snow, the road is only cleared a few times over the course of the winter. In worse years, the road has to continue to be cleared to allow vans to pass all the way into the fall.”

He acknowledges that the population has increased in the last few years to complete the land route. “We’re a bit behind behind in clearing the road compared to last year, due to both the weather conditions and COVID-19.”

These weather conditions differ starkly with the mild temperatures predicted by in much of the country today. Predicted high temperatures include 15°C in Reykjavík, 11°C in both Egilsstaðir in the far east and Patreksfjörður in the Westfjords, and 10°C in Akureyri.

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