The flooding which began in Skaftá last Wednesday has not abetted, but has in fact risen to levels that make it very likely that it will reach the Route 1 national highway, new updates from the Icelandic Meteorological Office report.
GPS measurements of the Vatnajökull glacier, which feeds the Skaftá river, show that ice has melted significantly. In fact, the surface of the eastern Skaftá cauldron decreased by a whole metre between 23:00 of September 4th and 12:45 of September 5th, and has decreased by 20 metres between midnight last night at 7:00 this morning.
All this being the case, it is very likely that flood waters will reach the National Highway as soon as tomorrow.
The electrical conductivity of the flood water has also increased, which is a strong indication of geothermal activity. As the Met Office, explains: “The increase in electrical conductivity in the Skaftá river is probably due to steam explosions from the geothermal area beneath the ice cauldron. Steam explosions occur as the geothermal area adjusts to decreased water pressure resulting from the drainage of the cauldron. The explosions increase the amount of dissolved material in the floodwater, which is detectable downstream as a conductivity increase in the river.”
Helpfully, RÚV has set up a livestream of Skaftá where the flooding can be witnessed in real time.
It is strongly advised to forego traveling into the southeast while this situation is ongoing.
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