Norway’s most powerful storm in over 30 years leaves a trail of destruction

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Copenhagen: Residents of central Norway awoke to scenes of havoc and homes without power on Thursday following the country’s most powerful storm in more than three decades.

Hurricane-force winds hit parts of the Scandinavian country, with gusts of up 180 kilometres per hour. Near Laerdal, a small, picturesque town northeast of Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, a bus with 14 passengers was blown off a road, though no injuries were reported, police said.

Some areas were flooded, and airlines and ferry operators temporarily suspended service. There were scattered reports of closed schools, roads, tunnels and bridges both on Wednesday and Thursday.

Hurricane-strength gusts also were reported overnight in Sweden. The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute issued a red warning for the western part of the Norrbottens district, which borders Norway.

The storm, named Ingunn by Norwegian meteorologists, landed in central Norway on Wednesday afternoon before moving north on Thursday. The Meteorological Institute had issued a red warning, its highest alert, for the Arctic region.

Several windows were blown out of a hotel in Bodoe, a large town in the Nordland district, police said. Downtown Bodoe was later sealed off because “there is a danger to life and health”, according to police.

Bjornar Gaasvik, a police spokesman in the Troendelag region, told Norwegian news agency NTB that the public safety agency received between 40 and 50 reports overnight from people affected by the storm and more were expected Thursday.

Sigmund Clementz of IF insurance told Norwegian newspaper VG that it was too early to estimate the cost of the storm damage.

The storm hit the same area as a 1992 New Year’s hurricane, one of the strongest storms in Norway’s history, the newspaper VG wrote.

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