Norwegian authorities issue warning to stay indoors as storms hit northern Europe

Norwegian residents have been warned to prepare for “extremely heavy rainfall” after Storm Hans caused two deaths, ripped off roofs and upended summertime life in northern Europe.

Strong winds continued to batter the region along with rains, causing a lengthy list of disruptions in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia and Latvia on Tuesday.

Ferries were cancelled, flights were delayed, roads and streets were flooded, people were injured by falling branches and thousands remained without electricity.

In Oslo, officials urged people to work from home.

On its website, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate warned of “extremely heavy rainfall” in southern Norway, adding “unnecessary traffic should be avoided”.

“This is a very serious situation that can lead to extensive consequences and damages. There will be extensive flooding, erosion damage and flood damages to buildings and infrastructure,” it said on its website.

Floods and slides closed dozens of roads in southern Norway and neighbouring Sweden and dozens of people have been evacuated following the storm.

There were scattered reports of helicopters being used to fly people out of affected areas.

Denmark’s Meteorological Institute, meanwhile, reported of waves of up to eight metres and beach houses were seen washed into the North Sea.

Earlier, deaths were reported as rescue workers battled heavy storms, floods, and landslides across Slovenia, Austria and Croatia.

The devastating floods in Slovenia affected two-thirds of the country’s 2.1 million residents and brought international help to the scene, authorities said.

On Monday, a 50-year old woman was killed in Lithuania by falling trees near the Latvian border.

A second person was killed by a falling branch in Latvia, near the Belarus border, Latvian television said.

In central Sweden, a train was partly derailed because the embankment under the rails had been washed away. Three people were slightly injured.

Norwegian authorities kept the extreme weather warning alert at its highest level due to heavy rain, mudslides and flash floods.

They also sent out text messages in several foreign languages, including English, to holidaymakers warning of the foul weather.

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