Traffic chaos and cancelled trains as blizzard batters central Sweden

A storm left cancelled trains and traffic chaos in its wake as it battered Sweden on Monday, with up to 30 centimetres of snow expected to fall in parts of the country.

Traffic chaos and cancelled trains as blizzard batters central Sweden
A bus got stuck on Folkungagatan in Stockholm on Monday morning. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Swedish weather agency SMHI issued an orange alert for central Sweden – covering the area around Stockholm, Uppsala, Gävle and Örebro – warning of snow and strong winds.

It said 15-25 centimetres of snow could fall, or 30 centimetres in some areas.

A snow plough on the E18 road east of Enköping. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

An orange warning is the second-most serious on a three-step scale, and means that there is a large risk that roads, as well as buses, train and flights, will be affected.

At least six traffic accidents were reported in the Stockholm region between 6 and 7am, according to the TT newswire, and several trains and buses were delayed or cancelled. In Örebro, all public transport was cancelled in the city, reported public radio broadcaster P4 Örebro.

Several other parts of Sweden also reported weather issues on Monday.

In the Östergötland region, a car held up traffic on the motorway after it went off the road near Melby, reported regional newspaper Corren.

In southern region Skåne, strong winds caused transport operators to cancel several trains, and tall vehicles were advised to avoid the Öresund Bridge to Denmark.

Buses lined up at Gärdet in Stockholm. Photo: Lars Schröder/TT

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Sweden issues health warnings over Midsummer weekend heatwave

Sweden's state weather forecaster SMHI has issued a yellow warning for the high temperatures across large parts of Sweden this Midsummer weekend, as people's health could be seriously affected.

Sweden issues health warnings over Midsummer weekend heatwave

People in Sweden have been warned to keep cool over the Midsummer weekend, as soaring temperatures mean the heat will affect some people’s health.

“In general, we in Sweden have a bad idea of ​​how dangerous the heat can be. It can be dangerous for everyone, not just for risk groups”,  Elin Andersson, researcher in environmental health at the Swedish Public Health Agency, told newswire TT.

She advised that certain individuals such as elderly, chronically ill, pregnant women, young children, elite exercisers and those on medication, take extra care.

Certain medicines, such as antidepressants, diuretics, beta blockers and neuroleptics, can affect the body’s fluid and heat regulation.

“If you take this type of medicine, it is good to contact your doctor when there is a heat wave. Sometimes you may need to temporarily change the dose”, Andersson told TT.

Caution should also be taken with young children under the age of five, as they haven’t yet developed their ability to sweat properly.

“They need help to stay cool and replenish fluids continuously. Another tip is to serve extra liquid-rich food, such as vegetables and fruit”, Andersson said.

Pregnant women should also take extra care in the heat, she added.

The most dangerous consequence of prolonged heat is dehydration, which often affects the elderly and people who exert themselves physically.

“Our general advice is to drink more than usual when it is hot. But what is right depends on who you are. For example, people with certain types of kidney disease should not drink too much. You must check with your doctor.”

Elin Andersson says that heat stroke is unusual in Sweden but heat-fatigue is more common.

“You can feel tired, dizzy, weak, nauseous and have an elevated heart rate. Heat exhaustion can become severe and turn into heat stroke. This is when the heart rate gets even higher and the body’s heat regulation stops working.”

Other symptoms are that sweating may stop completely and that you lose consciousness.

“If you suspect heat stroke, you should always call 112”, she said.

In Båstad, the municipal water company is urging residents to be restrained with their use of water, as there is a risk the taps will be empty by this afternoon.

“We had normal behaviour until half past three yesterday, then a completely crazy consumption began that ended at midnight. Then the same trend started again this morning”, Jonas Håkansson, head of the Drinking Water department at NSVA, told newswire TT.

“This has to do with the heat. It is obvious that many people come to their summer houses where they plan to celebrate Midsummer and think that they can use the drinking water exactly as they want.

“One feels a great deal of frustration and disappointment that people do not take greater individual responsibility,” he said.