• Sweden edition
 

Snow strains buildings to breaking point

Published: 20 Feb 2010 10:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Feb 2010 10:18 GMT+01:00

Heavy snowfall in southern and central parts of Sweden has caused several roofs to cave in, while rail authorities have called a halt to a number of train services amid continuing extreme weather conditions.

An elderly man was killed on Friday when a machine storage shed gave way on a farm in Håcksvik, 50 kilometres south of Borås in western Sweden. The walls and roof of the structure are believed to have yielded at 5.30pm to the weight of the snow that fell in large quantities over the course of the day.

In Vänersborg, disaster struck at 3.30am on Saturday as the roof on the western town's brand new stadium caved in. Local sports authorities said the roof had been cleared of all snow over the course of Friday. But the efforts were not enough to prevent a collapse, as a 100 square metre section of the roof plunged to the surface of the bandy pitch in the middle of the night. There were no reports of any injuries but there is thought to be a high risk of further collapse.

"Nobody dares to go in or go up on the roof. I don't know how we're going to go about this, it's not going to be an easy one to solve," emergency services coordinator Karl-Erik Johansson told local newspaper TTELA.

The stadium, which was opened in September last year, has come in for sharp criticism locally for the high cost of its construction. Originally projected to cost 140 million kronor ($20 million), the local council has so far paid out 275 million kronor to contractors and suppliers.

There was also snow damage in nearby Falkenberg when the roof of an industrial building fell in.

Rabbits were the unwitting victims of the weather in Nyköping, 100 kilometres south of Stockholm, when a wall and half the roof of a tennis hall collapsed. A national rabbit show was taking place in the building at the time. No humans were injured but an estimated half of the 1,648 rabbits were trapped inside.

The country's roads were also seriously affected by the heavy snow.

"A lot of cars have driven into the ditch but there have been no serious injuries. It's very slippery on the roads at the moment. People should take it easy in traffic," said Pernilla Sundell at Stockholm county police.

A number of trains have been cancelled as a result of the adverse weather conditions. All rail traffic was halted on Saturday morning between Gothenburg and Karlstad, Uddevalla and Herrljunga, as well as between Eskilstuna and Arboga. Replacement buses have been brought in to replace rail service on the lines affected.

"The rail authority (Banverket) has decided to reduce traffic. Large quantities of snow have fallen that need to be cleared before trains can get through," said Carl Gustaf Olsson, spokesman for rail operator SJ.

All other rail traffic is proceeding as normal, though there are delays on a number of routes.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:47 February 20, 2010 by silly t
real crazy this snowfall.Yet people who work outdoors were still left to go out today.when one dies,then the gov't would call for a state or emergency.we would have learnt the lesson the bitter way.who even cares,newspaper distributors are all foreigners.
11:13 February 20, 2010 by cod
Comment: Ha ha people who park there cars on the main streets should be towed! Then the fee to get there car back goes to snow removel. Keep your cars in your driveways. Snow removel sucks in stockholm- Canada kicksass. I am a carpentar from B.C. Canada. Taks in Stockholm are lightwieght not made for50cm of wet snow. You have 120cm between roof trusses and 2cm panel on that for a regular house in stockholm. Maybe it should be 60cm between the trusses or 3.5cm panel. If you have a house be sure to shovel that stuff of before the mild temps come.
13:45 February 20, 2010 by johnnyrebel
Shoveling, shoveling, shoveling...all the live long day Working like a horse moving snow. Where is this stuff coming from and whatever happened to all that global warming stuff? Ever since that blue spiral appeared in the sky over Norway on or around December 15 it seems that we have entered another Ice Age. Oh well, probably just a coincidence.
14:03 February 20, 2010 by DamnImmigrant
The part that I like and that everyone seems to be forgetting is the the SNOW SEASON (late February through March) is just about to start!

Have the authorities already made plans for the massive flooding we are about to get?
16:28 February 20, 2010 by suso
I remember a very interesting article in the Sceitific American,about 5 years ago,summing up expected weather changes in the future,which looks coming true:

"Cold areas will get colder,

and hot areas will get drier."
21:24 February 20, 2010 by bobalong
I love the snow and ski regularly, so love the stuff. That is what we came here for. We have had very little over the last 6 years so in some ways is nice to see.

However, the sheer amount being put on the roof of my house and shed is rather worrying. Our shed is 5mx30m and the snow is about 3 feet deep on the roof. I had to improvise to try to get some of it off before the whole roof collapsed today. I spent over 4 hours with my rake on a very long pole to try to encourage it to come off. You could virtually hear the poor roof groaning with the relief of getting literally a ton of snow off it.

Like it has been said, the "snow season" is only just getting started so I expect to see many more collapsed buildings before this winter is over. I just hope it is not mine! The -28 we had for weeks in December was bad enough!
21:25 February 20, 2010 by bubblan88
the average temperature for the whole planet is ABOVE average... (believe it or not)
21:46 February 20, 2010 by senthil v
This heavy weather is due to high pressure in arctic region , instead of getting winds from west now Europe is getting winds from arctic circle (due to high pressure).

global warming theory is based on changes over a longer period, not year to year or season to season changes. and bubban is right about the average temperature.
21:51 February 20, 2010 by Alohart
Areas of the southern hemisphere are suffering record high temperatures, so the average temperatures over the whole planet are increasing despite cold northern hemisphere areas. Higher average temperatures increases the energy and moisture in the atmosphere which leads to more intense storms, including snow storms.

All of this is predicted by the climate change models which should cause climate change deniers and doubters to reconsider.
08:21 February 21, 2010 by just a question
well, some traditionally hot dry areas are getting "wet" and colder.

My region used to have pretty dry and mild winters. Now there are floddings every winter. There was snow this year, and this never happens.
09:14 February 21, 2010 by karex
@suso

You got it right

@johnnyrebel

Global warming brings about extreme weather conditions everywhere. It's simplistic to define the name literally. Maybe they should call it something else... would cause a lot less confusion.

Extreme weather conditions caused torrential rains and mudslides killing at least 30 in Madeira this weekend. It's everywhere folks.
13:16 February 21, 2010 by Swedesmith
The moniker I like best is "Global Climate Change". It is very reasonable to believe that the activities of the combined billions of people on this earth can indeed affect the climate. Cold areas will become colder, warm areas warmer and storms will become more intense. Get used to it, I doubt that we can change it.
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