Norwegian river dam partly collapses after floods

Extreme weather Hans, in Oslo

A person walks in mud after extreme weather Hans hit Valdres, near Oslo, Norway August 8, 2023. NTB/Cornelius Poppe via REUTERS

OSLO, Aug 9 (Reuters) – A dam on a Norwegian river partly collapsed on Wednesday, sending water gushing through a gaping hole in the structure after days of heavy flooding, TV images showed.

The Braskereidfoss power dam on the Glomma River, Norway’s biggest waterway, had been unable to open its hatches after its control room flooded.

Reuters Graphics

Water appeared to be flowing through it in a controlled manner following the breach, utility Hafslund said in a statement.

There were no immediate signs of major downstream flooding, a police spokesperson said.

Police earlier considered blowing one of the 45-year-old dam’s hatches to help relieve the water pressure, but decided not to as the explosion would have been difficult to control.

Norway has evacuated thousands of people as rivers swelled to their highest levels in at least 50 years, and homes and businesses have been submerged or swept away by landslides.

Main roads were closed and train services suspended across wide parts of southern Norway as rivers breached their banks, and authorities warned of more flooding to come in the days ahead as the water moves towards lower-lying coastal regions.

A railway bridge collapsed on the line connecting Oslo to Trondheim, Norway’s third-largest city, but there was no danger as trains had been suspended since Monday.

Innlandet county, one of Norway’s worst-hit areas, said many people were isolated by the floods and that first responders may not be able to reach those in need.

“We’re in an emergency situation of national dimensions,” Innlandet Mayor Aud Hove said in a statement.

The government on Wednesday mobilised more helicopters to take part in evacuations, the ministry of justice and public security told broadcaster TV2.

Strong winds, intense rain and landslides hit different parts of the Nordic region in recent days, knocking out power lines in Finland, flooding villages in Norway and Sweden and bringing public transport to a standstill in hard-hit areas.

On Monday, a Swedish train derailed when a railway embankment was washed away by floods, injuring three people.

Authorities in Norway and Sweden maintained red alerts, their most severe flood warnings, for several regions on Wednesday.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Victoria Klesty, Editing by Alexandra Hudson, John Stonestreet and Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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