Traffic woes as Sweden’s snowy weather returns

Just when you thought it was starting to get warmer, the snow again began to fall in southern Sweden, with temperatures set to drop even further in most of the country.

Traffic woes as Sweden's snowy weather returns
A frozen car in Stockholm last month. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

National weather institute SMHI issued 10 class-one weather warnings (the lowest kind on a scale from one to three) for areas in the southern half Sweden on Wednesday.

And indeed, heavy snowfall of 15-20 centimetres in just a few hours sparked traffic chaos across all of Jönköping county – especially when four foreign-registered trucks got stuck for six hours on a snow-covered road after they had failed to plan for the Swedish winter.

Lars Kildén, project manager at the Jönköping branch of Sweden's traffic authority (Trafikverket), said Swedish police had immediately slapped a driving ban on one of the vehicles that had to be salvaged by recovery teams, a Polish-registered truck.

“Its tyres didn't have any tread at all, it couldn't even drive on flat ground,” he told TT.

But non-Swedish drivers were not the only ones left red-faced on Wednesday. No serious injuries were reported, but before noon more than 50 cars and around 35 trucks had been brought to a halt because of the weather – and one police car had gone off the road.

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If you were hoping for the arrival of spring, after a mild weekend which saw many Swedes take to social media to post pictures of the warmer weather, you will likely be disappointed.

SMHI forecasters said they expected the mercury to stay low, with heavy snowfall set to continue overnight, and weekend temperatures predicted to range from 0C in southern Sweden to -10C in northern Kiruna.

“The beginning of next week will continue in the same spirit. It's uncertain what path the snowfall will take, but generally it's in any case going to get more wintery,” said Sandra Andersson.

The cold snap comes a month after western Sweden experienced its heaviest snowfall in recent years, including 33cm of snow in less than eight hours, public transport woes and a penis drawn on a frozen moat.

But don't worry, it is not going to be as cold as Sweden's new millennium record, -42.8C measured in Naimakka in the far north in January, the coldest temperature since 1999.

FORECAST: The weather where you are in Sweden