Thousands without power and traffic disrupted as 2019’s first storm hits Sweden

Thousands without power and traffic disrupted as 2019's first storm hits Sweden
A Christmas tree sways in strong winds near Åhus on New Year's Day. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT
UPDATED: Strong winds continued to batter southern Sweden on Wednesday afternoon following a storm which earlier left 100,000 people without power and disrupted transport throughout the day.

On Gotland, a class 2 weather warning for strong gusts remained in place, although earlier Class 2 warnings over Svealand, including Stockholm, had been downgraded to Class 1. On eastern Gotland, wind speeds were measured at 27.5 metres per second in the afternoon.

Storm Alfrida, caused by low pressure air moving over from Iceland, has led to major problems for transport, with fallen trees and scaffolding blocking roads and disruption to ferries.

Rescue services and the Swedish Transport Authority had sent out staff to deal with fallen trees and to keep roads usable. 

“Our impression is that it is worst in the northern part of our area, especially in Uppland, which is where the storm is coming from,” Jonas Fröjmark from Greater Stockholm's rescue services told TT. “There are lots of trees which have fallen on roads.”

In several places other objects such as signs and scaffolding have become dislodged and are blocking roads. The Transport Authority advised against all but essential travel in those areas most severely affected by the storm.

In Stockholm, the public transport network was also experiencing disruptions, with the Roslagsbanen heavily disrupted along with part of the Saltsjöbanan. Up-to-date information about traffic disruptions can be found on the SL website.

Several ferry lines were also affected, and all ferry journeys to and from Visby on Gotland have been cancelled for Wednesday. Ferries to Åland were also cancelled, although routes to Finland, Estonia and Latvia were running as usual.

Air travel was not affected by the stormy weather, but a spokesperson at Swedavia advised travellers to get to airports in good time given the difficult conditions on many roads.

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