“We’ve never before had snow on this scale,” exclaimed Valgeir Þorvaldsson, director of the Icelandic Emigration Center in Hofsós, North Iceland [as reported by icelandmonitor].
Located in a two-story house, the Emigration Center practically disappeared under a monster dumping of snow delivered by last week’s record-breaking storm.
“When building these houses, it never occurred to us we’d have to shovel [snow] off these roofs. There are, I believe, 9 meters (30 ft) up to the gable of the biggest house, and the roofs are very steep, too,” continued Þorvaldsson.
“Maybe this is why people emigrated to America,” he jokingly pondered.
Fearing the structure could collapse, Þorvaldsson said first it was “essential to make sure no one is inside.”
People worked hard shoveling snow off the roofs on Monday, Dec 16, in addition to clearing second story windows so they could access the offices.
Valgeir states that a great deal of work remains to get things up and running again following the snowstorm and resulting power outages — not least for the regions farmers.
The violent snowstorm is also responsible for the deaths of up to 80 horses, according to Sigridur Bjornsdottir, a veterinarian for MAST, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority.
“There is a tradition in Iceland for horses to stay outside year-round, and that has been the case since the country was settled,” said Bjornsdottir. “Farmers do not have stables for these horses, which require considerable space. It is, therefore, hard to imagine what more could have been done.”
The Icelandic Met Office has warned of further disruptive snow, and has issued a yellow weather warning.
The lower latitudes are refreezing in line with historically low solar activity.