Trondheim is under a red umbrella alert, which means we are getting a lot of rain over the next couple days. Apparently this doesn’t happen very often. This storm is pummeling most of the Norwegian coastline with rain, wind, and waves, and the Norwegian weather service has named it “Gyda”. That’s how you know it’s bad – it has its own name. But so far, the storm hasn’t been too bad. A lot of wind, a lot of rain, but nothing worse than I’ve seen in Massachusetts.
I’m sure you can imagine my confusion descending into downright panic when the air raid sirens sounded for about five minutes straight on my lunch break. What’s the Norwegian word for “evacuate?” Is some dude in camo going to show up and start yelling at me?
Now, this is my first time living through a storm this bad in a foreign country. I have no idea where to find information, and whatever I do find is in a foreign language. Google Translate helps, but its occasional failures don’t inspire confidence. It frequently translates “Les mer”, which means “read more” and is found on practically every website, as “The sea.” A quick search on the Internet told me to check NRK – the Norwegian public radio system. But, like any true millennial I don’t have a radio, so I checked the NRK app on my phone, which was full of complaints about the price of electricity. So I started sending messages on Teams to my coworkers, trying to triangulate the location of the sirens. My coworker up the hill in Ranheim didn’t hear it. The one on the other side of the city, by the hospital, could. What was going on?
Turns out the Norwegian Civil Defense Force is obligated to test the warning alarm twice a year, and they just so happened to pick the day the storm arrived to do so.