issued 9th Jan 2018 Storm warning tonight in North Iceland. Rest of the country will have rain or sleet for the next few days with temperatures dropping below freezing at the weekend.
Now that we have winter and quite often snow and ice on the ground, it’s important to wear proper footwear. It can be very slippery and falling can cause accidents. Microspikes are recommended and it’s important to stay on marked paths and roads.
The next few days the weather forecast is rain, sleet and/or snow in many parts of the country and then the temperature drops rapidly on Sunday with frost.
Today (Wednesday) and until midday (12 o’clock) Thursday threre’s a storm warning for North Iceland and the Westfjords; wind gusts up to 45-50 m/sec (180 km/h – 111 mph).
Winter conditions on roads in the Westfjords, North Iceland (Borgarnes to Akureyri), North East Iceland (Akureyri to Egilsstaðir) and other roads around the country. Winter tires are recommended and slow down when driving in winter conditions; icy/slippery roads, snow on the roads, poor visibility, etc.
General conditions in the highlands:
Tourists often mistake 4×4 for a vehicle that can take on all terrain, which is of course not the case and this must be explained as damages can cost thousands of dollars. Drivers who get stuck in rivers, snow or mud have to get themselves out at own expense – there‘s no insurance in the world that covers damage linked to crossing a river. GPS devices also tend to lead drivers on to closed roads. For this reason, it’s very important they know where to access information about road conditions/closures. It is illegal to drive off-road, including on sand!!
All F-roads are now closed because of snow!
Kverkfjöll: Road is closed/impassable! VERY important to follow instructions by the icecave and not go near it all year around!
Conditions in popular tourist sites:
Conditions depend entirely on the weather so that must be checked every day.
Reykjanes: Krísuvíkurvegur (42) part of it is gravel road has been fixed a bit, but drive slowly though. Construction going on by Gunnuhver where they are fixing the decks and more. Valahnjúkur is closed due to dangerous conditions! The road to Selártangar is in very bad shape.
Þingvellir: The paths can be icy/slippery in the morning because of nightfrost. Please stay on marked paths.
Geysir: The paths can be icy/slippery in the morning because of nightfrost. Please stay on marked paths.
Gullfoss: The area is wet and muddy. Paths/steps can be icy/slippery in the morning because of nightfrost. Please stay on marked paths.
Western Iceland: Dangerous area around the landslide in Hítardalur. Please do not go there! Trails everywhere can be icy/slippery in the morning because of nightfrost. The nature is wet and muddy now. Important to stay on marked paths.
Snæfellsjökull National Park: Fresh snow on Snæfellsjökull glacier hides the old cravasses, only go there with a guide. Road 570 closed/impassable. Important to show caution at/around sea cliffs.
Westfjords: In general winter conditions can be expected on roads higher than 100-200 m above sea level and roads can close any time. The mountain pass over Dynjandisheiði (and other gravel roads) are in very bad condition, big potholes and when it rains/snows it gets muddy. Note that at bridges are sharp edges and deep holes, show caution because it’s easy to damage cars.
Látrabjarg and Rauðisandur: The road to Látrabjarg has no winter service so it can become impassable very quickly. Worth mentioning that in heavy rain Látrabjarg becomes very slippery and trails become muddy. The road to Rauðisandur is very steep, threads the mountain with out protective rails which can be challenging for inexperienced drivers.
Hvítserkur: The road has lots of potholes. The walking path can be icy/slippery at this time of year.
Goðafoss: Ice and snow on the trails. Microspikes are recommended and important to stay on marked trails.
Mývatn: When there is ice on Lake Mývatn it is very thin and big danger of falling through. Important not to walk onto it!
Dettifoss og Selfoss: Road 864 is closed, 862 is open entering from road #1 but closed north of Dettifoss. Please notice that 862 has no winter service such as snowplowing so it can get impassable any time.
Hengifoss: Paths can be slippery in the mornings because of night frost and muddy after rainfall. Microspikes are recommended.
Reynisfjara: Do not enter the cave! Rocks fall from the “ceiling” and going there you can get caught in the waves.
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. Rocks have also been falling by the cave.
Same applies to Djúpalónssandur in Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Kirkjufjara beach but it‘s CLOSED for this reason.
Svínafellsjökull: Civil Protection advises against travel on Svínafellsjökull due to landslide danger and guided tours on the glacier are discouraged. Travelers are advised to stop only for a short while at viewpoints by the glacier tongue.
Dyrhólaey: The road to Háey is only for 4×4 vehicles. Show caution close to the cliffs edges when walking around. Show extra caution when it’s windy.
Seljalandsfoss: The trail behind the waterfall is wet/icy/slippery and one must be careful when going back up the rocks on the west side. Some days the trail behind the waterfall is closed becuase it’s too dangerous. Microspikes are recommended and it’s necessary to wear good walking shoes.
Fjaðrárgljúfur: CLOSED due to poor conditions from heavy rain and warm weather. Please respect closures so the area can heal.
Conditions on hiking trails:
Hiking in Iceland requires proper equipment even on shorter hikes as trails are often not like the ones travelers are used to. Please study our equipment list as preparation is key for successful travel in Iceland. The way down can often be harder than the way up so hiking poles are a good tool to help tired knees.
Esja: Important not to underestimate the elevation gain. At this time of year the trails can be snowy and/or icy and even though the weather is nice at the bottom start, it can be extremely windy and cold in upper parts. It’s important to be dressed/equipped for that. It’s also important to stay on the marked trails. Microspikes are recommended.
Reykjadalur: Important to stay on marked trails because the nature in the area is very sensitive, plus there are dangerous hot springs around.
Básar: Trails are slippery because of frost and/or mud.
Fimmvörðuháls: Winter is there with snow and bad weather conditions are a fact. The huts have closed. A challenging hike and conditions vary a lot on the weather and at this time of year only go there if the weather is very good! Fog on the top and even snow is common which limits the visibility. Snow for some kms at the top. Foot prints in the snow should never be 100% relied uppon. Important to keep in mind that access to water is very limited after the river, on the pass itself.
Þórsmörk: Trails are slippery because of frost and/or mud.
Landmannalaugar: Trails are covered with snow. Hut is closed.
Laugavegur: The huts between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk have closed so it’s not recommended to do the hike. Winter conditions with lots of snow and as huts have closed there’s no shelter for bad weather.
The hut in Langidalur has closed. Básar (Þórsmörk) is closed and the warden only comes to open for reserved groups and/or at weekends. The hut in Landmannalaugar is closed. Volcano Huts in Húsadalur is open all year round.
Þakgil: Campsite has closed.
Kjalvegur: Road F35 is closed.
Kerlingafjöll: Road F35 is closed. Snow in the mountains.
Skaftafell: Trails are open but muddy and wet, and can be slippery/icy in the mornings because of night frost.
SE of Vatnajökull: Trails can be slippery. Important to stay on marked trails/paths.
Víknaslóðir: Huts are closed.
Ásbyrgi: Lot of snow in the area and some roads are impassable. Microspikes are recommended for icy/slippery trails.
Dettifoss: The area is icy/slippery and snow as well. Microspikes are recommended. Important to show caution by the canyon.
Jökulsárgljúfur: The hiking trail between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss is closed because of winter conditions.
Hljóðaklettar: The hiking trail between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss is closed because of winter conditions.
Mývatn: When there is ice on Lake Mývatn it is very thin and big danger of falling through. Important not to walk on it!
Hornstrandir: The scheduled boats have stopped sailing there. Winter conditions and no hiking.
Glymur: Log has been removed so there is no way but wade through the river. The current is quite strong and river very cold so wading through is not for everyone.