Safetravel – Extreme wind gusts

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Safetravel – Extreme wind gusts

Weather and conditions on the main roads:

Yellow warning today! Extreme wind gusts from Seljalandsfoss to Djúpivogur (45 m/s, 160 km/h, 100 mph) until tonight – at a max at noon. Gusts in Kjalarnes, from Reykjavík to Hvalfjörður tunnel, 30-35 m/s until late tonight. Drivers on vehicles that take on a lot of wind are advised not to travel in these conditions! Strong winds and snow in NE and E-Iceland – snow expected to reduce after noon but the wind won‘t go down until late tonight so low visibility still expected on the roads. As we speak Road 1 is closed over Öxnadalsheiði mountain pass, Víkurskarð mountain pass and from Mývatn to Jökuldalur in the east (just west of Egilsstaðir)! Mountain pass over to Vopnadjörður (no. 85) is also closed!

Temperatures expected to drop quite a bit tomorrow. Wind could pick up quite a bit from Reykjavík to Borgarnes, from Seljalandsfoss to Vík and in Öræfi late on Friday – only for a short time though but worth keeping an eye on. 

Conditions in the highlands:

Highland roads are now all closed/impassible for unmodified vehicles! It’s important to be properly equipped for winter – especially those heading for hikes and camping!

Conditions in popular tourist sites:

This time of the year the conditions vary a lot on the weather. Trails are now icy/snowy in most parts of Iceland, even on lowlands so we recommend bringing crampons along ALWAYS, regardless of location! These essentials shouldn’t cost more than 3.000-4.000 ISK and make all the difference when exploring Icelandic sites during winter.

Reykjanes: Conditions on roads and trails by Gunnuhver are not good. Road 42 to Krýsuvík is often in worse conditions than others in the area.

Þingvellir: Trails covered in snow – not overly slippery but crampons recommended nonetheless. Snow blowing over the mountain roads Mosfellsheiði and Lyngdalsheiði.

Geysir og Gullfoss: Lower trail towards Gullfoss will remain closed this winter due to ice. Crampons highly recommended in both Gullfoss and Geysir!

Hraunfossar og Deildartunguhver: Icy trails – crampons recommended!
Snæfellsjökull National Park: Icy trails. Roads 570 and 571 over the glacier are closed!
South Westfjords: Road to Látrarbjarg is not winter serviced so it has not been plowed! Many mountain roads are impassible – Dynjandi cannot be accessed f.x. as roads are closed from both directions. We would also like to point out that a few avalanches have fallen in N-Westfjords so we do not recommend being out adventuring without appropriate avalanche safety equipment and knowledge to go with it!

Hvítserkur: The road to Hvítserkur from the road 711 is closed and will remain so until spring. Weather dependent as to view the rock you’ll have to walk for 10 minutes.
Goðafoss: Considerable snow and ice in the area – important to wear good shoes and crampons! Trails on the west side not recommended as they are not marked and it’s not clear where the edge ends and the ice on the river begins!
Dettifoss og Selfoss: Roads to and from Dettifoss in all directions are now closed. Conditions will be checked again on Friday.   

Hengifoss: Nothing remarkable about the conditions – weather dependent as when raining/snowing there is often fog partially covering the waterfall.
Reynisfjara: The beach can always be dangerous due to the unpredictability of the waves. It‘s not every wave – it‘s every 7th or 10th or 12th wave that goes a lot further up the beach than the rest making it difficult to assess danger upon arrival. There are no rocks in the ocean that break the waves and only a few meters of shore there‘s an underwater cliff so the pulling factor of these already powerful waves becomes even greater. On top of this the sand is very fine ash which makes it extra difficult to get away from these waves.
Same applies to Djúpalónssandur in Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Kirkjufjara beach but it‘s CLOSED for this reason.
Skógafoss: Area around the waterfall is quite slippery. The steps are ok but ice increases with elevation gain!
Seljalandsfoss: The walking path behind the waterfall is closed due to ice! Other trails are ok but crampons recommended!
Þórsmörk/Goðaland: Closed/Impassible for those not in a modified vehicle. Staff will remain in Húsadalur throughout the winter. Snow has increased but the river is lower than usual yet full of ice and the banks are quite high.
Vestmannaeyjar: The ferry will depart from Þorlákshöfn until further notice on 
www.seatours.is (top of website). 
Landmannalaugar: Roads are only passible for those with experience in a well modified vehicle! Slushy conditions a few days ago yet with dropping temperatures this has become harder.

Conditions on hiking trails:

Hiking during winter time requires proper equipment even on shorter hikes. Please study our equipment list as preparation is key for successful travel in Iceland. Winter has arrived in most areas in Iceland so we recommend having minor crampons with you at all time.

Esjan: Crampons are essential! Mountain crampons needed to go beyond Steinn as snow and ice are along that climb. Must not be underestimated! Considerably colder up top than by the roots and wind often increases after 250 m. Warm clothing is essential!

Skaftafell: S1 and S2, most popular trails to the glacier and to the viewing platform by Svartifoss waterfall, are ok. Towards the waterfall crampons are recommended! Other trails in Skaftafell are closed due to extreme ice – proper mountain crampons and equipment needed! 
Reykjadalur: Very slippery conditions and snow! Important to wear crampons – not passible in sneakers! Important to stay on the trail as it’s surrounded by dangerous hot springs and very vulnerable nature!
Ásbyrgi: Ice and snow on all the trails!
Glymur: Ice on the trail and snow increases with elevation gain. Log over the river Botnsá will not return until spring so now hikers must either cross the river on foot, go up on the west side (not a good angle to see the waterfall) or take a longer route over the old bridge along the hiking route “Leggjabrjótur”.

Avalanche conditions:

Those heading into the backcountry have to keep the following in mind! 
High danger (level 4/5) 
in Eastfjords due to strong NE winds and heavy snowfall – unstable snowpack in the mountains. Considerable danger (level 3/5) in Tröllaskagi Peninsula with winds and snowfall predicted next days and N-Westfjords with a lot of new snow that is windpacked after strong ENE-winds.

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