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Traffic problems persist as snowfalls continue

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Traffic problems persist as snowfalls continue
13:16 CET+01:00
Sweden's Transport Administration has advised drivers in Stockholm to leave their cars at home as the continuing heavy snowfalls and winds leave much of the region at a standstill.

As Stockholm and southern Norrland struggle to battle the aftermath of the return of winter, Sweden's meteorological agency SMHI warned that the snow was heading south to Småland, Blekinge and Skåne.

Bus services were at Friday lunchtime still suspended in the Swedish capital as snowplough crews battle the snow drifts. Train services across the affected areas are running at dramatically reduced capacity, if at all.

Many commuters have been left stranded.

"It is deplorable, they could have ploughed during the night, there is something called 'planning ahead'," said Dag Bengtsson at Stockholm Central Station to news agency TT.

The transport administration has issued a warning for an emergency traffic situation in southern Norrland and the Stockholm region.

"There is also limited accessibility on the smaller roads in Dalarna county, southern Jämtland and the Gävleborg coast", the administration said.

At least 25 traffic accidents have been reported to police in the Stockholm area since midnight, while no one has been seriously injured

The Transport Administration also warned of major disruptions to train services between Gävle and Sundsvall because of the blizzard.

"Trains are moving but the tracks have an extremely low capacity due to snow drifts. Things are moving, but very slowly, and delays will continue well into the morning," Transport Administration spokesperson Lennart Helsing told TT.

Several local trains between Gävle and Sundsvall were also cancelled, according to the administration's website.

Bus service in nearly all of Stockholm and the surrounding suburbs was cancelled on Friday morning due to treacherous road conditions, stranding many Stockholm area commuters or forcing them to find alternate routes. Commuter trains were running, but with heavy delays.

"We were trying to drive downtown for a while, but it just didn't work," said Thomas Silvander, a spokesperson for public transit operator SL, to the TT news agency.

The weather also caused flight delays in the Stockholm region. At Arlanda airport, only one runway is operational as crews work to remove snow, resulting in delays of up to two hours.

At Bromma airport, travelers can expect delays of up to 30 minutes.

Swedish meteorological agency SMHI has issued a class 2 warning for the Baltic island of Gotland, Södermanland and Stockholm counties, as well as the coastlines of Uppland and Gävleborg counties.

The Eckerö Line ferry has cancelled all Friday morning departures from Eckerö and Grisslehamn due to the bad weather. But the 1.30pm departure from Eckerö is expected to go ahead as planned.

The Viking Line and Silja Line ferry operators report delays in their Baltic Sea ferry traffic, but all routes are expected to proceed as planned on Friday morning.

The snowstorm is expected to move steadily south during the day on Friday morning, weakening as it goes. By the afternoon, only light snow is expected over the Götaland region of central Sweden.

"We're not at all looking at the same amounts we had yesterday and overnight," SMHI meteorologist Alexandra Ohlsson told TT.

Despite the rough weather, relatively few accidents have been reported. Police in several counties hit by the heavy snow believe most travellers opted to stay off the roads.

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