Avalanche risk in the north, grass fires in the south

Sweden is country divided by extremes of weather over the Easter weekend. There is a large risk for avalanches in the north at the same time as grass fires threaten in a dry south.

The splendid spring weather is the reason for the heightened risk of grass fires. Dry grass left from last summer, can easily cause fires to be started as temperatures rise in the south.

According to a forecast from Sweden’s main meteorological agency, SMHI, the risk of grass fires extends from Skåne in the far south up to Dalarna and Värmland in central Sweden.

“We have noted that conditions are very dry, but we have not so far received any alarms about grass fires. We are very conscious of the risks now, Mats Fredriksson at the emergency services in Norrköping said to news agency TT on Easter Saturday.

Several reports of fires have already come in over the Easter weekend. Sveriges Radio reported that a large fire had been reported near Torpane outside of Mellerud.

In the county of Västmanland in central Sweden several reports of fires have been called in.

“We have already had a couple of alarms and I fear that these are set to increase over the weekend if people do not exercise caution,” Fredrik Eriksson of the Västmanland fire services said to Sveriges Radio.

At the same time as spring weather and warm temperatures cheer the south of Sweden, the Swedish ski lift operators association, SLAO, warns of a heightened avalanche risk in highland areas.

Kittelfjäl in Västerbotten has been served with a grade four warning (of five).

“One should not stray off piste and should instead stay on the marked trails,” Hans Gerremo SLAO CEO said to news agency TT.

The risk of avalanches at other Swedish ski destinations are considered to be low to moderate.

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Floods as Swedish cities get two months of rain in 24 hours

Large areas of Sweden saw extreme levels of rain over the weekend, with the city of Linköping receiving more than 100mm of rain in 24 hours, twice as it usually receives in the whole of August. 

Floods as Swedish cities get two months of rain in 24 hours

According to Swedish weather forecaster SMHI, the Linköping-Malmslätt area received 96mm between Saturday night at 8am on Sunday morning. The area normally received between 60mm and 70mm in August as a whole. 

“There was such an absurd amount of rain that the data was at first rejected by our system,” Therese Fougman, a meteorologist at the forecaster, told Sweden’s TT newswire. “It is continuing to rain during the day, and it is lying in a band over Östergötland, Sörmland och further up towards Uppland, predicting there would be a further 40mm to 50mm in the next 12 hours. 

The downpours have led to flooding in several areas, and caused traffic problem with cars at risk of aquaplaning on roads such as the E18, which were covered in a thick layer of water. 

Lennart Ågren, who was the duty leader of rescue services in Östra Götaland, told TT on Sunday afternoon that rescuers had been called out to several floods in Linköping and Mantorp. 

“There were streets under water, and water was running into properties so we had to throw all our resources at it for several hours,” he said. 

In Jönköping, rescue services were called out to flooding at a school and in other places, while in Växjö, lightening hit close to the place where a student party was being held at the local university campus. 

In Linköping, rescue services told TT that they had been called out 30 times. “We’ve been stretched but have managed to handle it,” said Pedher Helmer, who was in charge of rescue services in Östergötland over the weekend. 

The heavy rain is expected to move to Blekinge, Skåne, Öland and Gotland over the coming days, with a risk for flooding.