Issued 18th October 2017 Strong winds expected today between Reykjavik and Keflavik. Also in the South and West. Strong winds expected to continue tomorrow in the South and East to Jökulsarlon. Heavy rain is expected tomorrow in East Iceland. Highlands closed to regular 4×4 cars. East road to Dettifoss now closed. Light crampons recommended at tourist sights. Road conditions everywhere liable to change quickly – drive with caution.
Weather and conditions on the main roads:
Strong wind gusts over 30 m/s (aprox. 70 mph or 115 km/h) expected today from Reykjavík to Keflavík, from Reykjavík to Borgarnes, from Stykkishólmur to Hellissandur and from Seljalandsfoss to Skógafoss until tonight. Tomorrow, Thursday, we can expect the same from Seljalandsfoss to Vík and from Skaftafell to Jökulsárlón. From tomorrow until Friday morning, heavy rain is expected from Jökulsárlón to Vopnafjörður (east of Öræfi and in the Eastfjords) with increase in river levels!
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 have to get themselves out at own expense – there‘s no insurance in the world that covers damage linked to crossing a river. Illegal to drive off-road!! It‘s helpful to have pictures of conditions on hand so that guests see them first hand.
Conditions in the highlands:
Highland roads are most closed/closing due to bad conditions! It doesn’t take a lot of snow to make it difficult staying on these roads! Conditions in the highlands are a lot different than on lowlands these days! Most areas are getting freezing night temperatures and even snow so it‘s important that travelers are equipped and ready for that – especially those heading for hikes and camping!
Fjallabak: Fjallabak is closed/impassible for those NOT in a modified vehicle! Companies need to inform drivers that it can be difficult to stay on the road in these conditions but it’s very important to do so as the nature is not ready yet for “off-road” in the snow. Snow is now melting and becoming very wet and slushy.
Lakagígar: Closed/impassible for non-modified vehicles!
Sprengisandur: Closed/impassible for non-modified vehicles!
Kjölur: Changes a lot according to the weather – No snow but very rough – only for 4×4.
Kaldidalur: Very rough after the summer – drivers should drive slowly!
North of Vatnajökull: Closed/impassible for non-modified vehicles! Rangers have left the area (in Askja, Herðubreiðalindir, Kverkfjöll and Snæfell).
Conditions in popular tourist sites:
This time of the year, changes are frequent and conditions vary on the weather. When the weather has calmed it‘s very possible that trails and roads in some areas will still be icy in the mornings from the night frost. We recommend bringing minor crampons along.
Reykjanes: The roads to Reykjanestá and Gunnuhver is quite rough (pot holes).
Þingvellir: Nothing unusual about the conditions.
Geysir og Gullfoss: Nothing unusual about the conditions.
Hraunfossar og Deildartunguhver: Nothing unusual about the conditions.
Snæfellsjökull: Nothing unusual about the conditions. Road over Jökulháls has closed (no. 570 and 571).
Rauðisandur: Narrow road that threads the side of the mountain without protective rails. Many have found this road uncomfortable especially when weather is bad!
Látrabjarg: The cliffs are quite loose, avoid going too close! Due to how vulnerable the area is to wind it‘s not recommended to walk there when winds are blowing heavily!
Dynjandi Waterfall: Nothing unusual about the conditions. Road has recently been fixed.
Hvítserkur: Nothing unusual about the conditions.
Goðafoss: Nothing unusual about the conditions.
Dettifoss og Selfoss: 864 closed. 862 only open from Ring Road no. 1 to Dettifoss (paved road). Early in the morning (before 10 o‘clock) the area by the waterfall is icy due to spray from the falls falling on the night frost!
Hengifoss: Nothing unusual about the conditions – construction going on to widen the path.
Reynisfjara: Waves are bigger than normal today and likely tomorrow but 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.
Same applies to Kirkjufjara beach, it‘s CLOSED due to this fact and also Djúpalónssandur in Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Skógafoss: Nothing unusual about conditions.
Seljalandsfoss: Nothing unusual about conditions
Þórsmörk/Goðaland: Closed/impassible for those not in a modified vehicle! Not much water in the rivers but rain expected tonight and tomorrow. Rivers should not be crossed without experience! Trails are without ice now and without snow. Staff have left Langidalur. Staff will leave Básar after the weekend. Húsadalur will be staffed throughout the winter. Bridges from Langidalur to Básar have been removed!
Vestmannaeyjar: Nothing unusual about conditions. Herjólfur, the ferry will be sailing to Þorlákshöfn today and most likely tomorrow. Information on this found on www.seatours.is (top of website).
Landmannalaugar: Roads closed/impassible. The snow is melting – is now very wet and slushy. If it doesn‘t melt entirely before the weekend, uncomfortable conditions are likely to form as everything freezes again. Very windy conditions expected today and tomorrow.
Conditions on hiking trails:
Hiking during winter time requires proper equipment even on shorter hikes. Please study our equipment list as preparation is key for successful travel in Iceland.
Esjan: Considerably colder on top than at the roots. Very windy now and not advised unless properly equipped!
Skaftafell: Most trails are ok but snow on Kristínartindar so S4 not recommended without a professional!
Laugavegur: Only for experienced mountaineers during the winter! Appropriate gear required: 4 season tent and an insulating matrass. See equipment list here. Walking bridges in Þórsmörk have been removed making it extremely difficult to cross over to Húsadalur.
Fimmvörðuháls: Only for experienced mountaineers during the winter! Wind commonly picks up quite a bit after noon and a GPS is required! 10-12 hours and no drinking water after the river. Huts empty and locked. See equipment list here.
Reykjadalur: Nothing remarkable or unusual about the conditions.
Ásbyrgi: Trails are wet but still open. The two-day hike to Dettifoss not recommended due to bad conditions and campground in Vesturdalur is closed.
Kerlingarfjöll: Limited visibility when the weather is like it is now. Trails are wet but not icy – ok but requires proper winter equipment!
Glymur: Log over the river Botnsá has been removed so now hikers have to either cross the river on foot or take a longer hike over the old bridge along the hiking route “Leggjabrjótur”.