A major storm hit South Iceland on Sunday. Search and rescue volunteers had to assist at least ten drivers after flying stones smashed the windows of their cars. The people, mostly foreign tourists, were taken to a nearby hotel, but the cars were left behind.
“I was born and raised here in Öræfasveit, so I’ve experienced this kind of weather before,” Jónína G. Aradóttir, who works at Hótel Skaftafell, told visir.is. “Now there are many people here who don’t know any better. It’s horrible for them because they have to cover the damages themselves.”
Many people had experienced that both windows on one side of their car had shattered. At least one driver tried to turn around to prevent the car from filling with snow, resulting in both windows on the other side of the car shattering as well.
Jónína said the people who sought shelter at the hotel had been in shock and some were crying. “We tried to provide them with crisis counseling as best we could, give them blankets and soup and talk with them.”
Jónína pointed out that such weather conditions can be expected in Öræfasveit several times a year. “We have to establish some kind of program so that tourists can see what the weather is like. So that this won’t happen again and again.”
Tourists are encouraged to take advantage of the website safetravel.is, which is run by search and rescue associations. Weather forecasts are available on vedur.is and information on road conditions on vegag.is.
A strong gale (more than 20 m/s) has been forecast for South and West Iceland tomorrow.