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New year storm warning for southern Sweden

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19:29 CET+01:00
A stormy start to 2007 is expected in southern Sweden as a low pressure system heading towards the west coast threatened to dampen New Year celebrations.

On Sunday afternoon the low pressure front was drifting over the British Isles, but meteorologists reckoned it would be over Sweden in time for the firework parties planned across the country.

"Winds of 15 to 20 metres per second and rain are axpected in the evening," warned Jonas Höglund at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute.

SMHI has issued a class 2 warning, which led to Varberg district among others cancelling its traditional New Year fesitivities, reported Swedish Radio.

On New Year's Day fierce winds are likely in the south or south west and conditions could worsen further:

"There are going to be strung gusts of wind over both sea and land - up to storm force," said Höglund.

Apart from cancelled fireworks displays, winds of that strength could blow trees over, especially now that the ground is so soft in the south of the country. The bad weather is expected to move eastwards on New Year's Day and, according to SMHI, will leave Sweden during Monday night.

Bad weather on Saturday night caused a power cut in Värmland, leaving up to 7,000 households without electricity. Late on Sunday afternoon, energy firm Fortum reconnected the last 145 customers just in time for the year's end.

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