Thousands of residents in southwest Iceland had their hot water supplies cut off overnight due to “severe frosts” – caused by lava. The regionSince December, lava flows have been sent that authorities say have damaged the pipes that supply the region with hot water.
“We don’t have hot water because the lava field is above the pipes,” Keflavík resident Bryndis Thorsteinsdottir told Reuters, saying tens of thousands of people had been affected. “It’s very difficult for us. And we don’t know anything.”
The latest eruption erupted around 6 a.m. local time on Thursday northeast of Mount Sýlingarfell, spewing fountains of lava about 260 feet high and giving rise to a volcanic plume nearly 3 kilometers long. Iceland’s Met Office said in its latest update on Thursday that lava had flowed just under 3 miles from the site of the eruption, but that activity appeared to be decreasing. The erupting fissure is also believed to be just under 3 miles long.
“The strength of the eruption continues to decrease,” the office said. “…The explosive activity that began between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. (1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. local time) is now largely over, but light convective clouds are rising from parts of the fissure. ”
Although the activity of the eruption appears to be decreasing, it continues to have a considerable impact on the local population.
The country declared a state of emergency on Thursday after lava damaged the main hot water pipe connecting Svartsengi to Fitja, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management said. The damage left parts of Keflavík, Sandgerði and Garður without hot water, according to the Iceland Monitor, prompting authorities to urge residents and businesses to save electricity and hot water.
“Transfer tanks store hot water in the area, and now that the pipeline is gone, that is the only water left in the area,” the department said Thursday, adding that the tanks “probably last 6 to 12 p.m.” as part of conservation measures. , and “in normal daily use… 3 to 6 hours”.
“Residents may use one electric oven, but the Public Safety Authority reiterates that each property can only use one electric oven,” the department said. “The electrical system cannot handle the increased use. If everyone starts the furnaces at the same time, the system can fail.”
Hot water supplies were cut off ahead of an expected “severe freeze” overnight, authorities said, sending many people in the area frantically searching for heat sources. The UK Met Office reported that temperatures in the city reached 17F overnight.
“It’s like the Black Friday sale on electric heaters. Everyone is trying to keep their house frost-free and stay warm,” Keflavík resident Jon Jonasson told Reuters. “…Some houses don’t have hot water. …It’s going to be cold for a few days until they fix it.”
On Thursday evening, officials said hot water supplies in the tanks were “rapidly depleting,” but on Friday they said contractors “worked through the night” to provide a hot water diversion pipe to residents. This work, however, encountered unexpected problems.
“There will be a delay in getting hot water to the new branch pipe from the Njarðvíkur pipe which was flooded by lava yesterday. Work on the new pipe went well, but there was a slight delay,” officials said. Friday shortly after noon local time. “…Now the plan is to be able to have hot water flowing through the pipes at midnight tonight.”
Even if successful, it will take a few days for the full supply to return. Officials said it may take up to two days for the water to return to full pressure, so people will need to use their reserves “sparingly.”
Thursday’s eruption is thesince December. The area is a popular arrival location for tourists, home to Keflavík International Airport and the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. Both locations were affected by the latest eruption, with the lagoon forced to close on Thursday and Friday and the airport losing its hot water, according to the Iceland Monitor.
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