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Spring floods threaten northern Sweden

Published: 21 May 2010 08:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 May 2010 08:07 GMT+02:00

In Jämtland water levels are extremely high and there are fears that Hammerdal hydro-electric power station remains under threat from flooding despite some easing off during the night.

"Water levels have dropped back 2.5 centimetre during the night. But we have been building barriers with sand bags around the station during the night and will continue," said Nicolas von Essen at the emergency services.

Recent flooding has caused a number of road closures in Västerbotten and Norrbotten in the far north of Sweden with water levels suddenly climbing around half a metre as melting snow filtered down into rivers and tributaries.

While the situation in the far north is starting to ease, the worst problems remain in Jämtland and around Hammerdal with several properties reported to be flooded.

"We are waiting on a new forecast from SMHI at around 10am and will spend the day photographing all the rivers to check developments," von Essen said.

SMHI expects water levels to rise for a couple more days but indicates that the peak has been reached in the far north.

Recent flooding has caused damage to roads across northern Sweden but most were able to reopen on Thursday as the floods began to ebb away. Four roads remained closed in Norrbotten and Västerbotten on Friday morning.

Sweden's infrastructure minister Åsa Torstensson will make a visit to Västerbotten on Friday to assess the situation and hold discussions with the Transport Administration (Trafikverket).

The agency issued class 3 flood warnings on Thursday in the Fjällsjö river, a tributary to Angermanälven, and Hårkan, a tributary to Indalsälven.

A class 3 warning is the highest of three and carries with it a risk of serious flooding problems and danger to the general public.

SMHI also issued a class two warning regarding the very high water levels in the lower parts of the Skellefteå and Pite rivers, and across many of the major waterways in the southern parts of Norrbotten, western parts of Västerbotten and in parts of northern Jämtland.

A class two warning states that there is a risk of serious flooding in exposed areas with some risk to the general public.

The weather is expected to be cooler in the affected areas over the coming days giving hope that the spring floods will ease off a little, especially in the smaller and medium-sized waterways.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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