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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Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.