Winter once again wreaks havoc across Sweden
Published: 19 Dec 10 16:12 CET | Double click on a word to get a translation
Swedes were coping with yet another round of fierce winter weather on Sunday as a band of snow showers moved north across the country, sending cars off the roads and dumping up to 20 centimetres of fresh snow in its wake.
According to meteorology agency SMHI, heavy snow and strong winds are expected to continue into the evening along much of Sweden’s Baltic coast.
While the snow is expected to spread north into Norrland overnight, snow is also expected to continue for much of eastern Sweden.
“It’s going to continue snowing for the remainder of Sunday in the areas where it’s snowing now, mostly along the east coast, but it will diminish slightly and move northward during the evening and overnight into Monday,” said SMHI meteorologist Anna Hagenblad to the TT news agency.
The day’s snow has caused dozens of traffic accidents, with 26 being reported in the Stockholm-area alone.
“We’ve just been inundated with accidents in the last few hours,” said police spokesperson Ulf Lindgren, warning for difficult driving conditions on both large and small roads.
“It’s a good idea not to drive a car unless you have to. If you have to go out, drive safely, keep your distance and make sure you have good tyres.”
Plows have also been out in full force in a constant battle to keep Sweden’s roads passable.
"We’ve got our entire force out all the time, there’s nothing left to spare,” said National Transit Administration (Traffikverket) spokesperson Peter Behrman.
“Our contractors are out with everything they have and are doing their best, but because it’s been snowing so intensely for such a long period of time, there’s a lot to do.”
In Skåne in the south of Sweden there were problems removing snow and ice from rail switches, resulting in reduced service for local trains between Lund and Hyllie.
Road conditions in Västra Götaland in central Sweden remained extremely difficult on Sunday, especially on smaller roads from Vänersborg and northward, where the road authority warned drivers about possible drifting snow.
At the same time, SMHI forecasts heavy winds and continued snow in the area around Vänern and Vättern lakes in the next 24 hours.
Roads appeared to be worst, however, along the coast of Småland in southeastern Sweden and inland toward Jönköping.
Snow combined with strong winds has resulting in heavy drifting and white-out conditions, especially on the Baltic islands of Öland and Gotland.
“It’s been the worst near Västervik,” said P O Jansson of the Kalmar police, who added that, despite the poor driving conditions, no accidents had yet been reported.
While much of Europe struggled to deal with Sunday’s powerful winter storm, which caused delays at a number of airports, domestic air traffic in Sweden remained largely on schedule.
“This are going quite well in Sweden. It’s the international traffic that is having problems,” Helena Miller, a spokesperson for airport operator Svedavia, told TT around 2.30pm on Sunday afternoon.
According to Miller, the day’s snow has been “favourable”, falling straight and without any accompanying crosswinds.
“Then we can clear the runways quickly; we usually say that we’re best in the world at that at Arlanda,” she said.
Despite the quick work by crews at Arlanda, thousands of Swedes remained stranded in London or were unable to make schedule trips to the British capital on Sunday.
Speaking with the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper, Miller said there were “major problems” in London affecting 2,000 passengers in Sweden.
Scandinavian airline SAS is urging passengers scheduled to fly to London on Sunday to stay home and rebook their flights.
A number of departures from Frankfurt and Amsterdam have also been cancelled, according to SvD.