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Heavy Rain Drenches East Iceland

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Heavy Rain Drenches East Iceland

The road across mountain pass Fjarðarheiði in East Iceland.

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

There is an elevated risk of landslides in the East Fjords thanks to very heavy rain on Tuesday and yesterday and ongoing highland runoff.

The Met Office has put out an ‘uncertainty alert’ which it plans to re-examine later today, hoping that the risk will have diminished.

Rivers and streams have burst their banks in several places without causing major flooding—though the footbridge over Selá river in Vopnafjörður was destroyed by rising river levels yesterday and a guesthouse in Seyðisfjörður was evacuated as a precaution, with the road in and out of the town also closed to vehicles, Vísir reports.

Seyðisfjörður was drenched by around 100 mm of rain in just 24 hours, with the deluge peaking at 10 mm per hour in the early hours of Wednesday.

Harpa Grímsdóttir, landslide specialist with the Met Office, says that rivers have flooded over roads in some places. “Rivers have widely become rusty red or brown – full of mud and carrying a bit of stuff away with them. We have set an uncertainty alert for the danger of landslides in the East Fjords and East Iceland. We expect the danger to reduce significantly right after midday, when the precipitation lets off.”

There is still a lot of snow on the mountains for the time of year and meltwater is only adding to the problem.

The flow rate in Selá river in Vopnafjörður increased from 17 cubic meters per second to about 130 between midday August 4 and 07.00 this morning.

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