Jan 5, 2008

The girl in the bubble

I live in a very safe place, I've come to realize this weekend. I know that the weather bureau warned us of very strong winds, and a full storm at sea, but I haven't actually noticed any storm. I have spent my weekend so far, immersed in my new toy, enjoying the high speed as I surf the net and check out online newspapers...

...And learn that three oil rigs in the North Sea have sent everyone home this weekend because of the storm and wave height. Three. It is so rare that those oil rigs stop production at all, that to hear that three are stopping due to weather makes me take notice (as you've noticed). Now, I have heard on the radio that a number of mountain passes have been closed several days this week (and I was amused at how the newspapers in Bergen phrased it: "Eastern Norway isolated due to blizzards!"). I have noted that four of seven mountain passes have been closed at any given time. That's a lot, too.

(Quick geography lesson: Norway is wider at the top and bottom and very skinny in the middle. The wide bottom part is southern Norway, and it rises in the middle to offer several dramatic mountain ranges, Europe's largest mesa, and the watershed between east and west. So west of this watershed is western Norway or the west coast, and east is eastern Norway, and where the whole thing starts to narrow is mid-Norway and everything north of that is northern Norway and nobody cares to call its coastline anything except "difficult". So there is no west coast up north, in spite of the impression you got from that lovely cruise to North Cape.)

The weather is taking its toll: A rock slide has closed the railway between Bergen and Oslo (further isolating eastern Norway), a local bridge had to close because it was twisting in the wind, trees are falling down and blocking other roads here and there and sometimes knocking out power, and ski resorts have to close. 10,000 people on what we call the south coast are without power, and they and eastern Norway are expecting a further 15 cm (6 inches) of snow.

I did stick my nose out the door today. Went grocery shopping. And although it was windy, it was rather pleasant since 4C (39.2F) is a bit warmer than -4C (24.8F), and it wasn't raining. So here I sit, in my apartment, sometimes noting a bit of wind outside, but nothing is swaying, nothing is falling over, down or across, and I have full power, enabling me to read about the problems and near-disasters happening all around. As if I'm in my own little bubble in an otherwise stormy part of the country.

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