Train traffic stalled as storms hit Sweden

UPDATED: Heavy rainfall in central Sweden on Sunday has seen train and road traffic grinding to a halt and over 100 homes evacuated.

Train traffic stalled as storms hit Sweden
Stockholmers in a very wet capital. File photo: TT
Weather agency SMHI issued 13 class-1 warnings for wet  and windy weather on Sunday as storms spread eastwards across the country. 
Stockholm county was specifically singled out, with the agency noting that it and several nearby counties could expect up to 50 mm of rainfall on Sunday. 
The morning saw over 100 homes evacuated in Hallsberg, near Örebro in central Sweden, with emergency services noting that water levels inside some people's houses had reached “around a metre” in depth. 
Pictures in Swedish media have shown people travelling down residential roads in canoes, or wading waist deep.
Train traffic between Hallsberg and Laxå ground to a halt too, leaving rail and road traffic between Gothenburg and Stockholm delayed.

Firemen in Mariefred, near Stockholm, on Sunday where many roads were closed. Photo: TT
Many areas in central Sweden were hit hard too, with Hjortkvarn recording 97 mm of rain over a 24-hour period, noted SMHI on Sunday morning. 
In Kumla, central Sweden, one resident was no doubt left in panic after getting stuck in a flooding elevator. 
Local emergency services rescued the Swede, telling the TT news agency that the situation was “terribly unnerving”.
Meanwhile, around 50 cellars so far have been reported to have flooded, with Stockholm emergency crews also contacted about flooding homes. 
Up north, the weather is even wilder, with Låktatjåkko mountain station near Björkliden in Swedish Lapland reporting the season's first snowfall on Friday.

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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.