December has been a month of snow and storms in Iceland. Reykjavík has already had a record breaking month of snowfall, with the snow measuring 42cm this December, breaking a record of 33cm. It's not the ultimate record though, as January 1937 saw 55cm of snow in Reykjavík.
Besides all this snow, there have already been THREE storms in Iceland this December - and we're not even halfway through the month! The last one, taking place between the 7th of December until the 8th, was supposedly the biggest storm to hit Iceland for 25 years, although it didn't do as much damage as the storm in March earlier this year.
The storm was at its worst just after midnight and this is what the weather forecast looked like on the 7th of December 2015 (the numbers at the bottom indicate meters per second, so the brown and pink colours are more than 40 m/sec):
The Icelandic weather and seasons are quite unpredictable and unreasonable sometimes, so just keep that in mind before visiting this country.
This is what the storm looked like on a different weather map:
There was some damage though. In addition to a few windows breaking and loose items flying around and doing minimal damage, a couple of boats sank, a fence flew onto someone's car, a concession stand at Seljalandsfoss waterfall was blown to pieces, electricity went out in Akureyri and in a number of other places, a family lost a lot of their belongings that were inside a shipping container that rolled over a couple of times and an entire roof flew off a house in the Westman Islands, where the storm was at its worst!
Most likely more damage reports will happen in the next few days.
No-one was harmed and the damage seems to be minimal as people were prepared for the storm - and we have the Icelandic search and rescue teams to thank that it wasn't any worse than that!
When everyone else was advised to stay at home and not to travel unless absolutely necessary, then the people from the search teams spent hours outside, fastening boats and loose items and even laying down on top of the roof that flew off to ensure it wouldn't do any more damage elsewhere.
In some cases people could hardly feel the storm, in sheltered areas downtown Reykjavík for example. However, wind was supposed to exceed 200 km/hour in some places around the country. In the Westman Islands a steady wind of 47 m/sec (169 km/hour or 105mph) was measured, before the wind meter blew away.
Icelanders generally await stormy weather with anticipation and excitement - and often treat it with humour. This storm is remarkable for the fact that it's the first storm in Iceland that has been given a name (like is the custom in the US). This storm was named Diddú, after a known opera singer in Iceland. You can see what people have to say about the storm and get a handful of jokes if you follow #Diddú on Twitter.
Here's a video that shows you what to expect on a stormy day in Iceland, if you're planning on driving in the countryside - video by Stefan Brenner:
The country is used to crazy weather and although people are advised to stay at home for the worst storms, in general life goes on as normal. People walk in the streets and drive on the snowy and icy roads. Newspapers are delivered, shops are open, rubbish bins are emptied and schools stay open.
One way to get around is on a bike, as Einar Sigurðsson did during the first storm in December: