January thaw causes chaos across Sweden

January thaw causes chaos across Sweden
Ice also caused problems on roads in Uddevalla, western Sweden, on Saturday
Flooding, stalled vehicles, and falling ice are just a few of the problems facing Swedes in the wake of an early-January thaw.

A number of vehicles have skidded off roads in southern Sweden this weekend and more than 40 long-haul trucks are literally stuck in their tracks on the E4 motorway near Nyköping in eastern Sweden.

Three people were also sent to hospital following an collision between a bus and a car on the same stretch of road on Sunday morning, the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper reported.

“You have to be careful on your way to work to not end up being one of those counted in statistics,” said Skåne police spokesperson Cindy Schönström-Larsson to the TT news agency.

While warmer temperatures have caused slippery conditions on roads in some parts of Sweden, roads have been flooded by melting snow and ice in other areas, primarily in Halland and västra Götaland in western and southern Sweden.

In addition, bus service in Östragötland County in southeastern Sweden has been severely disrupted, according to Sveriges Radio (SR), with re-routings or cancelations affecting at least ten routes.

“It’s really slippery on certain roads,” police spokesperson Mariana Persson told TT.

At least three people have also been injured by falling ice as warmer temperatures have loosen snow and ice on buildings throughout the country.

A block of falling ice fell four stories and hit and 87-year-old woman in the head around 10pm on Saturday night in Malmö in western Sweden. The woman was hospitalised following the incident and police are considering filing a report against the building owner, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reported on Sunday.

Earlier on Saturday, a 31-year-old Stockholm woman was sent to hit by falling ice on St. Eriksgatan in central Stockholm. A short time later, a 43-year-old man was hit by a chunk of falling ice near Stureplan. Both were sent to hospital for treatment.

Emergency crews have also been busy responding to calls to help Swedes pump water out of flooded basements and other spaces.

Some buildings have also had their attics flooded because water from melting snow can’t make its way through drainage pipes which remain clogged with ice.

Frozen drainage pipes resulted in water damage to offices at the football stadium in Borås in western Sweden, according to Sveriges Radio.

As long as time permits, emergency crews plan to continue assisting with problems and damages caused by flooding.

“But if there is a fire, we’ll prioritise it,” emergency services spokesperson Markus Bodén told the radio station.

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