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Sweden counts cost of winter snowfalls

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 18 Feb 2010, 09:44

Published: 18 Feb 2010 09:44 GMT+01:00

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The Swedish meteorological agency, SMHI, has forecast more snowfalls for the coming weeks in most parts of the country as the coldest winter in memory continues to keep the whole of Sweden blanketed in white.

The costs for snow clearance has continued to climb as heavy new year snowfalls continue well into February with many of Sweden's municipalities already exhausting allocated funds, according to the newspaper.

Malmö, Gotland, Halmstad and Kalmar have already used up their budgets, a further five already know that will overspend, and in a further 12 there is an overhanging risk of a deficit which will need to be carried over to budgets for 2011.

Councils will also be forced to cut back on road maintenance during the summer, with some warning of an impact on traffic security.

Malmö council, which has already spent 20 million kronor ($2.77 million), two million kronor more than budgeted, has advised that road painting and street-lighting is likely to be cutback during the summer to compensate.

Just as the harsh winter takes its toll on Sweden's roads, municipalities may also be obliged to cut back on asphalting and reparation - at a time when it will be most needed.

"This is not good as it is often a question of safety. We know that it will not only affect asphalting; measures to reduce traffic speeds, and improve safety at pedestrian crossings, may also be delayed," said Jan Sandberg at The National Society for Road Safety (NTF) to DN.

The railways and train services have also been a bone of contention for Swedes this winter with cancelled trains and widespread delays as a result of the sustained cold temperatures and snow.

Story continues below…

Representatives for national rail operator SJ and the Swedish Rail Administration (Banverket) have on Thursday been called in to the parliament to account for the sub-standard service.

December was the worst month for delays in 15 years, according to Rail Administration statistics. Continued snow and ice indicate that problems are set to persist for Sweden's hard hit commuters.

SMHI has forecast a further decimetre of snow in across Götaland and the Stockholm area on Thursday and Friday.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:12 February 18, 2010 by jack sprat
So despite the phoney facade, Sweden does have major travel and other problems because of bad weather, and not only this Winter.

The first minor snowfall in Oct of the previous Winter resulted in Arlanda shutting down and widespread powercuts.

I myself suffered 2 whole weeks without power 4 year ago during just a minor cold snap.
12:26 February 18, 2010 by Eagle63
It seems the extreme winter has a firm grip troughout the northern hemisphere, it is not just a local phenomena; even in Florida wildlife is freezing to death...

A few more of winters like this one and you will no longer hear anything about that Global Warming nonsense...! Sadly, this winter is the beginning of the next 'Little Ice Age', the coming years will get colder and colder....
12:36 February 18, 2010 by Nemesis
There is a lot of problems in Sverige because of the weather.

However on average Sverige does a good job of keeping the country going in bad weather, compared to other countries.
13:30 February 18, 2010 by McChatter
For once I agree with you, Nemesis.

And your English has improved so much today! Are you the real Nemesiss?
13:30 February 18, 2010 by stoffer
Well, it is winter after all, so people should accept that there will be delayed trains, cancelled flights etc. It was like that in the past, it is like that now and it will be like that in the future. Nothing has changed or will change here.

What has changed, are our expectations. Our life styles got faster and we are less and less tolerant to delays. I guess that we should simply slow down. There is no real need to go faster.
14:28 February 18, 2010 by eZee.se
"A few more of winters like this one and you will no longer hear anything about that Global Warming nonsense...! "

Honestly, have you read up on even what "global warming" means?

What it implies for cold countries and hot countries?

The only thing that would have made your comment worse would be that Al Gore invented global warming.
16:33 February 18, 2010 by skatsouf
@ eagle63: climate ≠ weather
17:46 February 18, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Al Gore did invent global warming. He's profiting from it too
18:08 February 18, 2010 by David S
Apparently eagle63 doesn't consider Canada, Greenland, or the Arctic part of the northern hemisphere, since they're all having significantly warmer winters than normal. Indeed the warmth in the arctic is the main driving force behind the greater snow in scandinavia and the US - more moisture in the air getting driven south.
18:38 February 18, 2010 by CarlBlack

The point is that when winters were mild the global warming advocates were always saying: 'look this is the result of global warming', and this helped them push their opinions. Now you should not be surprised that the reverse is happening when the winter is cold.

And the global warming hypothesis predicts slowing of the Gulf stream, which should really bring colder weather to Sweden, but it does not explain current colder weather in US, south and east Europe, and so on. And furthermore - the slowing of Gulf stream is not observed.

Actually the British Met Office connected with global warming lobby CRU was repeatedly predicting warm winter this year and is now being laughed at in Britain (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1243846/Met-Office-accused-warm-bias-BBC-weatherman.html), while long-term predictions from so called climate realists were rather accurate (http://www.weatheraction.com/)
19:48 February 18, 2010 by reason
"And the global warming hypothesis predicts slowing of the Gulf stream"

Nope. That's a separate hypothesis, dependent on global warming, but with further assumptions about ocean circulation.

As both atmospheric and ocean circulation are in large part driven by the temperature difference between the poles and the equator, it would not be out of line to claim that climate change could (and most likely would) change circulation patterns. As we're seeing the most warming near the poles, one might expect a general slowing of the circulation. There's certainly a risk of the Gulf Stream slowing down in a warmer future, but it's by no means certain.
20:05 February 18, 2010 by skatsouf
Since Al Gore was mentioned, he is not guilty of inventing Global Warming (no one is guilty of doing so, we humans simply accelerate it to a horrifying pace) but unfortunately he is primarily guilty of giving in after Enron's intensive lobbying in 1997 and promoting the ineffective, inefficient and unfair cap and trade schemes.

We are trapped to that scam today and i m afraid the train has left the station.

And keep in mind that weather is one thing, climate is another.
20:22 February 18, 2010 by wxman
I have held a BS in Meteorology and an MS in Climatology for 34 years. All I can recommend is to bill Al Gore for these expenses. His deliberately misleading statements based on bogused data and deliberately misleading invective are responsible for your unpreparedness regarding normal cyclical climatic variation.
00:26 February 19, 2010 by diegoveggie
can't wait for some global warming..
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