Flood warning in western Sweden

Water was still rising in lakes and rivers in western Sweden on Tuesday following widespread flooding on Monday. Swedish weather agency SMHI has issued class 3 warnings, the highest on the scale, for areas in the Västra Götaland district around Gothenburg.

This means more rain and high water levels in the rivers Ätran and Säveån and higher than average flows in Gothenburg and Trollhättan. SMHI is encouraging people living in the affected areas to follow the news closely.

Vattenfall, the largest electricity provider in Sweden, has informed that it will continue to drain water from lake Vänern.

Since December 6th, Vattenfall has drained 912 cubic metres of water a second from Vänern. The company says it will continue to do so until further notice.

“We are using the sluice to its maximum capacity, but if we get an order form the county administration, than we will react immediately,” said Joelsson.

Around 10 millimetres of rain was expected to fall over Västra Götaland between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon. Rescue workers in Gothenburg the surrounding area have been waging a losing battle with the rising water and are said to be exhausted.

Emergency services have been inundated with calls from homeowners, office workers and shopkeepers as the floodwater started to take over basements and ground floor properties.

“The worst part of it is that much of the damage could not be avoided. There is nowhere to pump the water. We had to prioritise places where still something could be done,” said Anders Kimfors, chief of rescue staff to TT.

Kimfors explained that it takes six to eight hours after it stops raining, for the water level to subside, assuming it does not start to rain again. The damages caused by Monday’s rain were extensive, with transport in the Gothenburg region severely disrupted.

Some trains started running again on Tuesday morning, but there was continued disruption to many services. Trains on the Gothenburg-Malmö line were being replaced by buses, according to SJ spokesman Edvard Lind.

Banverket, authority responsible for track maintenance, said that the Gothenburg-Malmö line would not be back in use until Friday at the earliest. Train traffic to and from Stockholm has only suffered minor delays.

45 people from the rescue services team in Gothenburg worked during late Monday and through the entire night. Offices were told to take action to protect equipment, but not every company managed in time. One company in Kungsbacka, south of Gothenburg, lost 3,500 copying machines.

In other parts of the region, roads were blocked by mud and landslides. Road congestion due to closed lanes is expected to continue in the greater Gothenburg area over the next 24 hours.