Sweden’s storm chaos continues

The storm which battered Sweden over the weekend, leaving three people dead, was still causing trouble on Monday afternoon, mostly in the south of the country. Some 210,000 households were without power and 50,000 Telia customers had still not regained their phone connections by Monday early afternoon.

Trains were beginning to get moving again by Monday lunchtime, but large areas of woodland were reported to be destroyed.

Early on Monday afternoon the Swedish Forestry Authority was calculating that around 12 million cubic metres of forest had been lost in the storm, named ‘Per’ by Norwegian meteorologists. The damage, while extensive, was less serious than that caused by Storm Gudrun, which hit Sweden in 2004.

Electricity providers said it would take several days to fix all the problems caused by Per.

“Many thousands will get their electricity back during the evening and night. But it could take several days for certain subscribers,” said Johan Aspegren, spokesman for electricity provider Eon, one of the worst-hit companies.

Some 125,000 Eon customers were still without electricity at lunchtime, down from 150,000 at the height of the problem. A total of 275,000 households suffered power cuts over the weekend.

On Monday morning, Eon had twelve helicopters in the air, and 1,500 workers out to help fix damage.

“The situation is bad in Kalmar, Jönköping, Kronoberg and northern Skåne. We’ll give a prognosis later in the evening,” said Aspegren.

Priority is being given to vital community buildings such as schools and hospitals. Summer cottages have lowest priority.

Trains have started running again, following widespread cancellations across Sweden on Sunday. But the lines linking Gothenburg, Kalmar and Karlskrona were still closed, as was the line between Falköping and Nässjö.

Telecoms operator TeliaSonera said that around 50,000 people had no fixed line phone services on Monday afternoon, with disruption also to the mobile network. Only around one in three mobile phones were working in Jönköping, while only one in four were working in Kronoberg county.

“We have 2,300 technicians working on the problem. It’s hard to say when everyone will get the service back – it’s down to the electricity,” said Malin Persson at Telia’s press office.

Other operators were also reporting problems, with Telenor saying that networks in large parts of southern Sweden were affected by the storms.

Three people were killed as Per swept the country. An eight-year-old boy in Motala, south-central Sweden, died after a tree fell on him. A man in his sixties died in Jönköping country after a tree landed on his car. A younger man died after a tree fell on him in Ullared, near Gothenburg.