The heat wave felt across the European continent has made the summer of 2018 the hottest in recent Norwegian history. It has not been without trouble.
Norway has been in summer mode since the beginning of May, a month when we usually worry whether we can wear our bunad with or without a water resistant poncho when we celebrate May 17.
This year, however, temperatures in most places of Norway have been soaring ever since May and throughout the summer months. With record breaking temperatures above 30*C in the entire country, and an unprecedented number of “tropenetter” (nights with temperatures above 20*C), many see the summer of 2018 as the best summer of the century.
Even the northernmost county of Finnmark, place of the midnight sun, has reported breaking temperature records as far back as 1933, with nights as warm as 25*C.
Hot summer, but at a cost
Norwegians have taken advantage of the weather and rushed to the nearest beaches to enjoy the ocean and cool off. But it has not been without trouble. The hot season has also come at a cost.
Very little rain fell on Norway during these warm months. Many places in the country, barbecuing was banned due to high risk of forest fires. In July, it was even so dry that South-Norway experienced more than 100 forest fires at the same time.
Tourists surge to Norway
For many years now, Norway has seen an increase in the number of international tourists.
The exceptional summer weather, combined with the alluring Norwegian nature, has surely attracted even more tourists. Norwegians are generally very proud of their beautiful country and are happy that tourists visit, but some voices have also raised concern about the effects on the environment and infrastructure, especially in the popular Western parts of Norway. Norwegians themselves have even avoided to travel to touristy places such as Lofoten this year, partly due to better weather conditions in the south, but also the popularity among foreign tourists.
Protesting in the nude
The small town of Olden has especially felt the surge of tourists the past couple of years. Only last weekend, the second weekend of August, Olden had 11,000 visitors from cruise ships.
There, farmers have had to put up signs to ask tourists not to step on farmed land, and a 71-year old man even protested the high number of tourists by posing naked in front of cruise ships, and publishing the photo in social media. Whether the scare tactic actually worked or had the opposite effect, no one knows.
More extreme weather in years to come
Just before school started again, the weather shifted in most parts of Norway. An early autumn storm brewed up in the second week of August, and brought with it heavy rainfalls and gales, causing roof tops to fly around and kept music festivals in emergency mode. Warnings were issued for people to stay inside, and many feared for unprepared tourists unable to pick up the local forecasts.
The summer of 2018 will, without a doubt, go down in history as one of Norway’s most extreme summers to date, and, according to climate researchers, it will not be the last. Norway will only see more extreme weather in the years to come.