Winter storm blows over Sweden

Winter storm blows over Sweden
Traffic problems, flight delays and power outages were left in the wake of Sweden’s first major winter storm, which headed out to the Baltic Sea early on Monday morning boasting hurricane force winds.

On the island of Örskär, located about 20 kilometres off the coast just south and east of Gävle in central Sweden, steady winds were clocked at 108 kilometres per hour just after 2am on Monday morning, with gusts reaching up to 140 kilometres per hour.

While winds were expected to slow on Monday, Anette Levin, a spokesperson for Sweden’s meteorological agency SMHI, warned that the effects of the winds would remain palpable.

“But even if things slowly begin to weaken, it’s still going to be quite blustery through the afternoon, so assume there will be continued problems during the morning and midday,” she told the TT news agency.

The snow and wind combined to cover the runway at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport with ice as maintenance crews were unable to keep the runway cleared.

A number of flights were redirected to nearby Bromma, Skavsta, and Norrköping airports, while other flights were delayed.

Several companies chose to cancel some flights altogether, including SAS, with more flights expected to be canceled on Monday morning.

Several local buses were canceled on Sunday night along the coast of Uppland in central Sweden when the storm hit.

Meanwhile, Sweden’s Road Administration (Vägverket) had deployed all of its resources in an effort to keep area roads open, but was nevertheless unable to prevent a number of motorists from getting stuck in the snow.

“We have big problems on route 288 where one car is stuck. We have one person who has disappeared in Östhammar, but we can’t get there because traffic is stopped on 288, so we’re waiting for the ploughs so we can get through,” said Upppland police spokesperson Torbjörn Karlsson at 2:30am.

Later, Vägverket spokesperson Andreas Possmark told TT that route 288 had been cleared.

“So far we’ve got things relatively under control when you consider how much snow we’ve had,” he said.

There had not been any reports of major accidents, although a few trees had blown over onto the road near Tierp, between Uppsala and Gävle.

And roads in Stockholm appeared to be clear as of early Monday morning.

“All roads are passable, even the smaller roads,” said David Kernell from the Stockholm traffic management centre.

The storm has also caused a number of power outages, primarily along the Uppland coast.

Power company Vattenfall reported around 3am that close to 1,500 customers had lost power in Uppland, while around 800 households in Stockholm were also without electricity.