|Jul 19 2017
Stuck in the Central Highlands Members of the ICE-SAR unit Skagfirðingarsveit assist travellers stuck in a river close to Landmannalaugar highland oasis. Photo/Björgunarsveitin Skagfirðingasveit
The heavy rain yesterday has caused rivers in South Iceland and the southern parts of the Central Highlands to swell. Rivers in West Iceland have also swelled. Travellers are advised that river crossings which are passable under normal conditions have become impossible to cross.
Road conditions The closed road leads from the Ring Road to Laki, a chain of craters west of Vatnajökull glacier. Photo/IRCA
The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration has closed Lakavegur (F206) highland road due to swelling rivers along the route. The road will remain closed until further notice. The IRCA has also issued a travel warning for Fjallabaksleið nyrðri (F208), warning that rivers along the Central Highland road between Hólaskjól highland center and the Central Highland oasis Landmannalaugar have grown, making river crossings dangerous.
Yesterday members of the ICE-SAR unit Skagfirðingasveit was called to rescue a group of four foreign travellers who had driven their car into a river just outside the Landmannalaugar campground. The travellers were unharmed, but the car suffered serious damage.
The IRCA has also warned that dry winds in the Central Highlands north of Vatnajökull have created sandstorms which can damage cars and cause serious irritation to hikers.
Yesterday the Police in South Iceland closed the roads into Þórsmörk, north of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, as well as the Fjallabak road due to the heavy rain. These roads have now been re-opened, but the IRCA warns travellers should show extreme caution:
Expected storm today. Gusts from 30-35 m/s between Seljalandsfoss and Vík from 12-18. Also up to 30 m/s gusts from Reykjavík to KEF-Airport and south of Borgarnes. At the highlands especially gusty wind at Kaldidalur mountainroad (west of Langjökull). Heavy rain also expected in the south highlands and increasing water levels in rivers. North of Vatnajökull Glacier you can expect sandstorms by afternoon.
Remember: F-marked roads are only suitable for 4x4s and mountain trucks. Also: Rental car insurance does not cover damages from water, including any damage caused by crossing rivers. Rental car insurance similarly does not cover damage from sand storms.
You should never go into the Central Highlands without first checking the weather forecast and road conditions, and never cross rivers without first checking their depth and conditions on the riverbed. If in doubt, do not cross. Remember that the safest spot to cross unbridged rivers is nearly always at the spot where the road crosses, do NOT drive off the road to find a different spot to cross, as this involves off-road driving, which is illegal under all circumstances.