The Local List

Five frosty facts about our next ‘extreme winter’

Five frosty facts about our next 'extreme winter'
Winter is definitely coming. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/SCANPIX
Start knitting that woollen scarf, go out and buy thick sweaters and stock up on canned goods – international weather forecasts are predicting an "abnormally cold" winter in Sweden.

1. How cold will it get?

Pretty darn cold apparently. Major weather site Accuweather suggests the extreme chill will largely bypass most of Europe and the British isles, instead massing in Scandinavia which is predicted to experience an “abnormally cold” winter.

“While northwest Europe evades much of winter's cold air, areas from Denmark and Germany eastward through Poland, Belarus and the Baltic States will not be as fortunate. The first half of winter will only feature brief glimpses of cold air as the core of the cold continues to build over Scandinavia,” warns the Accuweather report.

On the other hand, US weather agency WSI predicts that the Nordic region will experience a warmer November and December than normal, although it suggests you still brace yourself for a colder-than-average January.

2. How does it compare to last year?

Let's just say that if you moved to Sweden in 2014 and thought that the winter was really not as bad as everyone had been telling you, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

While Sweden did experience its darkest November on record, temperatures were also a lot milder than normal last year. Gothenburg in western Sweden enjoyed 11.6C on February 9th – the highest temperature of the month since records began in 1869. At least it's probably not going to get as cold as the chilliest-ever temperature measured in Sweden: -52.6C in Vuoggatjålme on February 2nd, 1966. Brrr.

A child enjoying a rare snow day in Malmö last year. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT 

3. Is there any silver lining?

Do you like skiing? Good. According to Accuweather, Stockholm is going to get 66 snow or ice days between November and March (compare that to London or Paris, which are both predicted to experience only five snow days each). In the words of the site's senior meteorologist Jason Nicholls, it's going to be “a good season overall for skiers”.

In fact, parts of Sweden have already had their first taste of the white stuff. Snow fell in Låktatjåkko in the far north of the country as early as September.

The first snow at Låktatjåkko. Photo: Malin Hagberg 

4. How will I cope with weather that cold?

We know your sofa and a hot cup of chocolate will seem increasingly tempting as the mercury drops, but spending time outdoors is vital to stock up on Vitamin D which helps fight the winter blues and protects against colds. There are also plenty of things to love about winter in Sweden, such as snow sports, the beautiful frosty Nordic landscape, traditional saffron buns for Lucia, and all the Christmas lights in people's windows.

How to survive the Swedish winter. Photo: Ulf Lundin/

5. Are you sure the forecast is right?

Well actually, no. Long-term reports are notoriously hard to get right and Swedish weather institute SMHI never does any forecasts more than ten days into the future. Last year, WSI predicted an extremely cold winter. In the end it turned out to be one of the continent's mildest winter for several hundred years, even leading to the Alpine Skiing World Cup being moved from the French Alps to Åre in northern Sweden.
To find out what the forecast is in your corner of Sweden, check out The Local's weather page.