Thousands without power as winds increase

Strong winds swept in over southern Sweden on Monday afternoon, leaving thousands of households without electricity.

The Öresund bridge was forced to close for an hour in the morning. No serious accidents had been reported by late afternoon on New Year’s Day, but the wind was expected to increase in ferocity, peaking during the evening.

“In a couple of hours Skåne and Halland will have wind speeds of between 25 and 29 metres per second. In Skåne, gusts could reach hurricane strength of 33 metres per second according to Jonas Höglund at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute.

The number of people affected by power cuts due to the bad weather grew throughout the day. At around 5pm there were 23,000 households without electricity in Skåne. Worst affected was the Kronoberg region where 10,000 customers of Sweden’s biggest power firm, Eon, were experiencing a blackout.

During Monday morning the Öresund bridge was closed to vehicle traffic for an hour as wind speeds picked up. Train traffic was unaffected.

A number of trees were blown onto roads in the Ljungby part of Kronoberg.

“The bad weather will pass quite quickly and will weaken during the night,” said Jonas Höglund.

“Tomorrow morning we’ll just have strong winds.”