Storms batter Sweden – warnings of worse to come

More than 24,000 households in southern and western Sweden were without electricity on Saturday morning after storms overnight. A number of rail lines were blocked by fallen trees.

Swedish meteorological office SMHI is now warning that even worse storms are likely to hit the country tomorrow, with western Sweden facing hurricane-force winds.

The west coast also bore the brunt of Friday night’s storms, with wind gusting at 90 kilometres per hour. Kronoberg county, inland in southern Sweden, also experienced large numbers of fallen trees.

“The emergency services and the Swedish National Roads Administration are working flat out,” said Fredrik Svärd of Växjö police early on Saturday morning.

“Trees have fallen over the E4 motorway, over trunk roads and over minor roads,” he said.

Some roads in Skåne and Halland were also blocked by trees. At 10am on Saturday over 24,000 households around the country were suffering from power cuts, most of them in Kronoberg country. Around 1,000 households were without electricity in mid-Sweden.

“We received the first reports of power cuts at around midnight and have worked to fix the problem since six this morning,” said Jakob Holmström, regional head of electricity provider Eon in Skåne.

Eon says it hopes that most people will get their electricity back during the day, but said it was possible that some would still be without power on Saturday night.

The storms also caused problems on the trains in southern Sweden. There were no train services between Alvesta and Hässleholm on Saturday morning, after trees fell over power lines. Rail infrastructure authority Banverket estimated that the line would not be able to reopen until Sunday afternoon. The lines between Alvesta and Emmaboda, and between Karlskrona and Emmaboda were also shut.

In western Sweden trains were not running between Halmstad and Värnamo. The track between Gothenburg and Trollhättan has been closed since Saturday evening.

“This is down to high water levels in the Göta River. There will probably be no trains during the morning, and even later into the day,” said Banverket’s Kerstin Olsson.

SMHI is now warning of even worse storms on Saturday night. The storm is expected to peak on the west coast on Sunday morning, with hurricane force winds gusting at over 118 kilometres per hour.

“In the rest of Götaland there will be storm force gusts and Svealand there will be heavy winds and snow,” said Anders Wettergren, meteorologist at SMHI.

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