Power cuts as winter storm hits north

Thousands of homes were without power and there was poor visibility on the roads as a fierce winter storm hit the northern part of Sweden in the small hours of Monday morning.

The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) had warned of strong winds in south and mid-Norrland and in mountain areas. In Norbotten and Västerbotten the storm caused traffic problems, although so far there have been no reports of accidents.

The E12 motorway was closed on the Norwegian side of the border as winds reached speeds of 32 metres per second – just 2 metres per second off hurricane status.

SMHI and energy companies warned on Monday morning that the powerful winds in the north would continue throughout the day.

“It’s extremely windy in the area and we reckon that it still hasn’t reached its peak,” said Roger Lindmark, information officer at Vattenfall.

By mid-morning Vattenfall had confirmed that 8,000 customers were without electricity, primarily in inland Västerbotten.

“We have at least a hundred men out working on repairing the damage, but we’re making local assessments as to whether it’s safe. We’re not risking any lives,” said Lindmark.

Telia subscribers in Boden are currently without telephone connections after a main exchange lost its electricity supply.

At one point some 40,000 households were disconnected, and although the exchange was reconnected to the electricity grid by 9am it was still unclear how many customers were cut off.

In the eye of the storm? Discuss!