Calm after the Storm


Calm after the Storm

At the request of a reader, this video features an Icelandic winter storm as us capital dwellers have seen quite a few of in the past weeks. The weather in Iceland is notoriously interchangeable. They say: if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.

And so we’ve seen intermittent snowstorms lately—unusually many for this part of the country—and a snow cover that lasted longer than what we’ve experienced in many years.

These pictures and videos were shot over a span of approximately 24 hours in mid-March, in and around Reykjavík.

Video and photos by Páll Kjartansson, photos of horses and narration by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.


With constant snowfall, drivers irritably had to dust their cars and scrape their windscreens more often than usual and there were a number of minor accidents due to slippery conditions and poor visibility.

But that was nothing compared to the whiteout which grounded tens of drivers on mountain passes and the blackout caused by fierce storms in other regions.

With a relatively mild winter so far—so mild that trees had started to bud and daffodils and crocuses to sprout in gardens—many a Reykjavíkian had started looking forward to spring, thinking it might come early this year.

But in Iceland, spring doesn’t come without a vorhret—cold and harsh weather after a mild period as to remind us that King Winter is not about to let go just yet—and these past few weeks have been a classic example of vorhret.

They also say: Öll él styttir upp um sídir, which means that eventually, all snowfall must come to an end. The day after the storm the thick snow cover provided people with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

An enjoyable walk in calm weather with the powder snow gleaming in the sunlight was enough to remind most people that winter isn’t all bad.

Dog owners were happy to take their canine friends out to play in the crisp clean air and have them chase after snowballs, while kids were thrilled to have this rare opportunity to slide down hillocks on toboggans, skis and snowboards, in the center of the city, no less.

Reykjavík does have a proper ski resort nearby on Mt. Bláfjöll, just outside city limits, which is usually crowded whenever it’s open.

Telemark skiers, on the other hand, go skiing in the forested area Heidmörk where tracks are made whenever the snow cover is thick enough.

At the stable areas—of which there are plenty in the capital region—horses stormed out of their pens as soon as they got the chance to roll around in the clean snow and relieve that itch that comes with losing their winter hair. Both horses and their owners enjoyed riding in powdery snow and pristine white surroundings.

And now, after a few days of mild temperatures and rain, all the snow has disappeared. Has spring arrived for real or is another vorhret upon us? In Iceland at this time of year, you never know for sure.

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