Police called in to calm bus stop tumult

Police were called to a Stockholm bus terminal on Tuesday night as tempers flared among the 1,000 hard-hit travellers trying to get home as transport problems continued to afflict many areas of Sweden.

With the metro lines closed south and west of Liljeholmen in central Stockholm, up to 1,000 passengers were obliged to squeeze into the bus terminal to queue for places on replacement buses serving the city’s suburbs.

When many of the passengers, who have suffered days of disruption and delays, were unable to find space on the buses patience ran out and guards were forced to call in the police to calm the heated atmosphere.

“We had up to five units there. There are no reports of actual fighting, but there was a lot of anger,” Ulf Lindgren at Stockholm police told news agency TT.

Shortly after 7pm calm had been restored and travellers were able to disperse on the replacement bus services.

The continued travel and transport chaos is costing the taxpayer some 150 million kronor ($20 million) per day, according to calculations by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

After stern criticism from the consumer ombudsman, national rail operator SJ re-introduced its travel delay guarantee at 5pm on Tuesday, meaning that compensation payments are likely to continue to grow until order is restored to Sweden’s rail and public transport links.

The government took the unusual step on Tuesday of calling in military assistance to help the National Rail Administration (Banverket) in its work to clear ice and snow from tracks and get trains running.

Swedish meteorological agency SMHI meanwhile has forecast that cold temperatures and snow are to be expected in many parts of Sweden over the weekend.

Temperatures fell to as low as -42 Celsius in northern areas on Tuesday – a new winter low. A high pressure front currently covers much of Sweden with cloudy weather in the south and clear, sunny spells in central and northern areas.

Snow is forecast for Stockholm on Friday and over the weekend with temperatures plunging again next week.

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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.