Strong winds across Sweden cause traffic chaos

Many areas of Sweden are reporting strong winds, which have led to cancelled train services as well as traffic accidents.

Strong winds across Sweden cause traffic chaos
Strong winds have blown over trees in Skåne, causing a traffic accident in Kristianstad municipality. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Strong winds across Sweden on Thursday night and Friday morning have caused cancellations and delays in train services, TT reports.

The train company Vy has cancelled all services between Kiruna-Narvik, as well as Östersund-Storlien until Friday morning. SJ has also cancelled services west of Östersund.

In southern Sweden, Trafikverket has cancelled services on many routes due to strong winds. These include services between Nässjö-Vetlanda, Ystad-Simrishamn and Kristianstad-Karlskrona starting at 4am on Friday morning.

Train services are expected to start up again at noon on Friday for some services, with others recommencing at 4am on Saturday.

P4 Väst reports that in western Sweden, services are not running between Uddevalla and Borås, as well as on the Bohus line. Ferry traffic is also affected.

Strong winds have also blown a number of trees down in Skåne, one of which has caused a traffic accident in Kristianstad municipality. A tree was blown over on to the road, where three people stopped to saw it into pieces and were hit by a car driving into the tree, police reports state. They have now been taken to hospital by ambulance.

In Gotland, the wind caused multiple power cuts on Thursday night and early on Friday morning, local media reports. At one point, 3,000 households had no power. 4,600 households had no power for just over an hour on Thursday night.

The winds currently affecting Sweden are part of the same storms which have been causing flooding, traffic problems and school closures in northern Sweden over the past few days.

“Even though it’s most windy in the mountains, there will also be difficult weather on lower terrain, and it looks like this will continue throughout Friday,” Alexandra Ohlsson, a meteorologist at SMHI, told newswire TT.

“There will also be extremely strong gusts of wind in some areas, like Skåne,” she continued.

The weather should be calmer on Saturday, Ohlsson says: “What we’re seeing now is the end of the bad weather. The wind is going to culminate in the south. Snowfall will decrease during the afternoon and evening, and Saturday will be much calmer.”

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EXPLAINED: What can I do if I miss my flight due to Sweden’s airport chaos?

Stockholm Arlanda Airport is once again suffering hour-long queues for security due to a surge in travel and personnel shortages. What can you do if you miss your flight?

EXPLAINED: What can I do if I miss my flight due to Sweden's airport chaos?

What’s the situation at Arlanda over the Ascension Day weekend? 

According to the airport operator Svedavia, the worst peak for the long weekend is probably over. “Today looks good with no long waiting time at Arlanda,” Ellen Laurin, the company’s press officer, told The Local on Friday. “Yesterday morning [Thusday], we had a morning peak before nine in the morning, and the rest of the day was OK.” 

According to Swedavia’s website, waiting times at security were less than five minutes on Friday morning.  

However, she warned that there could once again be big queues on Sunday when those who have travelled to Sweden over the long weekend make their way home. 

“Sunday is a big travel day when people will fly home again. There could be queues at peak times,” she said. “We recommend that passengers have a close contact with their airline for information about their flight. It is important to have extra time at the airport and to be prepared.  

READ ALSO: What’s behind the queues at Arlanda Airport? 

Which airports in other countries have problems? 

Arlanda is not the only airport facing problems due to delays staffing up again after the pandemic. On Friday morning, Twitter users were complaining of two-hour queues at the border control at Heathrow Airport in the UK, while at the UK’s Manchester Airport, passengers were reporting queues for security of up to two hours on Thursday. 

Dublin Airport is also facing regular two-hour queues at security. Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport had a 1km security queue on Thursday, pushing the Dutch airline KLM to cancel flights. 

Can I get compensation or insurance payments if I missed my flight due to the queues? 

The SAS airline has already underlined that it is their customers’ responsibility to make sure that they arrive at the airport in sufficiently good time to make their flight. 

“To be certain you can come with us, you should be in good time, and if you are in good time, you will manage to get your flight,” she told state broadcaster SR. “It is always the customer’s responsibility to be on your way as early as is necessary.”

People who miss flights are also likely to struggle to get payouts from travel insurance, warned Gabriella Hallberg, an expert on travel insurance at the Swedish Consumers’ Insurance Bureau. 

“If you’re at the airport and are hit by security controls that take a very long time, they consider that it is the consumer themselves who have not planned their journey,” she told SR

She said that it might be possible to find an insurance company that is willing to insure against flights missed due to security queues.