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Winter storm wreaks havoc across Sweden

Published: 30 Nov 2012 16:28 GMT+01:00

"Children are crying, everyone is worried. My wife was half asleep when everything suddenly slipped off the bedside table onto the floor," Ronni Vukanac, a passenger aboard a Finland-bound ferry told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Wild winter weather also caused problems on land, with more than 50 accidents reported in the Stockholm area alone by 4pm on Friday.

"That's about twice the number of accidents we usually see on a Friday," county police spokesperson Sven-Erik Olsson told TT.

And there is more snow on the way for the greater Stockholm region, with about 10 centimetres expected to fall around the Swedish capital and up toward Uppsala.

Gävleborg County is expected to receive up to 40 centimetres of snow in the next 24 hours, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) has warned.

"Combined with the wind we could see snow drifts forming," SMHI spokesperson Emil Björck told the TT news agency.

SMHI also warned that strong winds could lash the entire Baltic Sea coast throughout the night on Friday, but should wane by Saturday morning.

The fierce winds generated massive waves on the Baltic on Friday, delaying several ferries shuttling passengers between Stockholm and Finland.

The Silja Serenade ferry was scheduled to reach the Finnish capital Helsinki at 10am but only managed to dock six hours later at 4pm.

"They steered her with extreme caution because of the gusts," Silja spokesperson Janis Pavuls told TT.

Meanwhile Viking Line ferries have seen similar delays.

"The wind speed reached 25-30 metres per second and we've seen five-metre waves," Viking Line Johanna Boijer-Svahnström said about the ship Gabriella, which also faced a six-hour delay.

"It's probably been swaying quite a bit on board."

The tax-free boutique staff had to secure the merchandise so it wouldn't tumble off the shelves.

A third ferry company, Eckerö Lines, decided to cancel two scheduled departures for Åland.

TT/The Local/at

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Your comments about this article

19:10 November 30, 2012 by J Jack
Those ferries should never have left the docks, they know the conditions ahead of them, shame. It's good that the passengers and crews are safe.
22:12 November 30, 2012 by theobserver
Always the same, year after year. When snow comes, it takes Swedes a while before they get their act together. "Oh, snow again!", they say. And then it takes them a week to think what to do with it. Eventually, they will start cleaning the roads. Like in every other aspect of the Swedish system, the response is sloooooowww, almost lethargic, with lots of fika breaks and--go forbid--no work during weekend.
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