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Avalanche Hits Farmhouse, Rivers Swell in East

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Avalanche Hits Farmhouse, Rivers Swell in East

Aðalból, Hrafnkelsdalur.

Photo: Aðalsteinn Sigurðsson.

The storm that plagued East Iceland yesterday caused an avalanche to fall on a farmhouse in Aðalból, Hrafnkelsdalur valley, north of Eyjabakkajökull glacier in Vatnajökull glacier, RÚV reports. Páll Pálsson, who was home at the time, heard loud rumbling and felt an immense blow as the avalanche hit the house at 5 pm yesterday. The avalanche burst through three windows.

The farmer at Aðalból, Gísli Pálsson, was stuck in a hut on the other side of Hrafnkela river as the avalanche hit. He had been out there looking for sheep when the river flooded with ice, preventing him from being able to cross it. He was picked up by rescue workers, who reached him by snowmobile in the early morning hours and brought home.

The storm has caused rivers to swell to record levels, RÚV reports. Warmer temperatures, along with substantial rain, have led to such rapid melting of ice that water levels in the rivers Geithellnaá and Fossá in Berufjörður increased twenty-fold yesterday in less than 24 hours. The flow in Geithellnaá river exceeded 480 cubic meters per second midday yesterday. That’s the most on record, the last record dating back to October 31, 1980, when the flow measured 454 cubic meters per second. The flow in Fossá in Berufjörður exceeded 220 cubic meters per second yesterday.

The road between Fáskrúðsfjörður and Stöðvarfjörður by Nautá river has been closed due to water damage.

Last night, East Iceland police, in cooperation with the Civil Protection in Iceland, decided to evacuate six houses in Eskifjörður, because of flood risk from the river Grjótá. A total of 18 people reside in those houses.

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