1992 New Year's Day Storm

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Satellite image of the New Year Hurricane that hit Norway 1 January 1992. Image taken 04 UTC.

The New Year's Day Storm (Norwegian: Nyttårsorkanen) was a powerful European windstorm that affected much of northern Scotland and western Norway on 1 January 1992. DNMI estimated the strongest sustained winds (10 min. average) and the strongest gusts to have reached 90 knots (46 m/s) and 62 m/s, respectively.[1] Unofficial records of gusts in excess of 130 knots (67 m/s) were recorded in Shetland, while Statfjord-B in the North Sea recorded wind gusts in excess of 145 knots (75 m/s). There were very few fatalities, mainly due to the rather low population of the islands, and the fact that the islanders are used to powerful wind, and because it struck in the morning on a public holiday when people were indoors. In Norway there was one fatality, in Frei, Møre og Romsdal county. There were also two fatalities on Unst in the Shetland Isles.



The New Year's Day Storm was the most devastating windstorm in modern Norwegian history, in terms of material damage. 29,000 buildings were affected,[2] as well as large quantities of productive forest.[3] In Norway the total damage cost was estimated to more than 2 billion NOK (1992 values). Norwegian mass media wrote afterwards that it was a 300-years hurricane. Meteorologists suggested rather that it had a wind speed with a repeat period of about 200 years on Norwegian territory. It had the highest wind speed measured in Norway until then, and has not repeated at least for the first 20 years after it.

A relief action called Aksjon Orkan was set up, based in Oslo, a city which was not affected by the windstorm. Reactions among the populace in the affected areas were mixed. The action was supported by the County Governor of Møre og Romsdal, but the mayor of Vanylven scorned the perceived intent to collect "food and clothes for the windstorm victims", stating the lack of need for such aid.[4] The people behind the action later claimed that this was never the purpose.[5] By the middle of January Aksjon Orkan had collected NOK 600-800,000.[5][6]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the UK, Scotland was worst affected. The wind was most severe in the Northern Isles, especially in Shetland.


  1. ^ http://met.no/?module=Articles;action=Article.publicShow;ID=1080
  2. ^ "Nyttårsorkanen". Aschehoug og Gyldendals Store norske leksikon. Kunnskapsforlaget. 2007.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Norwegian News Agency (29 January 1992). "Omfattende orkan-hærverk på skogen".
  4. ^ Kongsberg, Freddy; Tom-Egil Jensen (15 January 1992). "Hjelp! Vi er ikke i nød!". VG.
  5. ^ a b Olsen, Espen (16 January 1992). "Hemmelig jakt på fattige". VG.
  6. ^ "Orkanaksjon". Aftenposten Aften. 16 January 1992.