It was the first major snowfall of the winter on Thursday, but North Icelanders got more than expected as the snow continued to fall heavily throughout the weekend, turning half the country into a winter wonderland.
The National Weather Service initially predicted a dusting of snow, but the estimates quickly grew, and today, Akureyri—North Iceland’s largest settlement—is covered with an even 105cm (3.3 ft) blanket of white.
Some of Akureyri’s main roads remain closed, and as most sidewalks are yet to be cleared, many of the town’s residents depend on sledges and cross country skis to get to and from work or school.
November snow certainly is not uncommon in North Iceland, but it has piled up particularly high over the past few days. As might be expected, ski areas across North Iceland hope to be in the midst of one of the best early seasons in recent memory.
But while skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts are ecstatic, others wonder whether this could be the start of an extra harsh season, as Iceland has a historical tendency for extreme and unforgiving winter conditions after plentiful, early-season snows.
While Reykjavík has seen high winds and well below zero temperatures, the capital area has not been hit by significant snowfall as of yet, but that is likely to change in the coming days.
Snow is predicted to shower the north well into the afternoon, and intermediate snowfall will hit West Iceland and the capital area by the evening. Temperatures will be dropping significantly, plunging to -18°C (-0.5°F) in some parts of the country.
A cold front will be sweeping through Iceland in the coming days, bringing in even more cold air and setting the stage for what many hope will be a very white Christmas.
Below are some more photos that were taken in Akureyri today.