Sweden is facing a severe cold snap in the first week of the year as a stream of cold air from Finland and Russia sweeps across the country. Planned train departures have already been canceled in northern Sweden, and temperatures in Skåne are expected to drop to 20 degrees below zero.
Temperatures in the north, from Boden to Kiruna, could drop to minus 40 degrees celsius between Monday and Thursday. This has already affected train traffic between Kiruna and Luleå, where Tuesday’s train departures have been canceled, and Monday’s departure has already been canceled. There is no replacement bus on the route.
– The cold is so extreme that temperatures are expected to drop below 35 degrees below zero. For safety reasons, you can’t run the trains, you’re running in uninhabited country, says Christer Berglund from Vy Tåg about the drastic decision.
The bitter cold is not expected to stay in the north, but to move south. In Stockholm, temperatures could drop to 20 degrees below zero at night by the end of the week. Temperatures in Skåne are also expected to fall between 15 and 20 degrees, according to SMHI meteorologist Angelica Lundberg.
The cold has been accompanied by heavy snowfall in Dalsland, where some areas have received up to 40 centimeters of snow in the past two days. Several warnings were issued across the country on New Year’s Day, including an orange warning for wind and snowfall in Dalsland and yellow warnings in Götaland, Gotland and southern parts of Svealand.
Skåne is also under a hydrological warning for next week, when large amounts of precipitation are expected, which could lead to high water levels in streams, ditches and rivers. Angelica Lundberg also warns of difficult snow conditions in Skåne towards the end of the week.
– During the week, the southernmost part of Sweden could be unpleasant. First with low pressure and precipitation – then the cold comes in the second half of the week, says Lundberg.
The challenging weather isn’t limited to Sweden. Norway experiences a snowy January with 6 days of snowfall totaling 31.4 cm and temperatures dropping as low as -20°C. Finland, a source of the cold air that affects Sweden, records temperatures between -14°C and -17°C with frequent snowfall. Denmark and Iceland seem to get away with much milder climates, with temperatures between 1°C and 3°C and between -1°C and 6°C, respectively.