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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 17:04 GMT
Winter storm chaos hits Scandinavia
Heavy snow and high winds brought chaos to traffic in Sweden

Large parts of Scandinavia have suffered power cuts and traffic chaos following a severe winter storm.

Up to 20cm of snow fell in southern and central Sweden on Thursday which, combined with strong winds, left thousands of households without electricity.

Ferries and trains were cancelled and traffic on many roads ground to a halt, with many minor accidents and vehicles going off the road.

The west coast of Norway suffered heavy rainfall and winds, with an industrial unit in Stavanger suffering a double blow as its roof collapsed after 50-60 cubic metres of water had accumulated on it.

A truck was also blown in through the doors of the unit and the damage was so severe that employees arriving on the scene initially thought there had been either an explosion or a lightning strike.

Hurricane-force winds

The snow in Norway led to many flights being cancelled or delayed, although flights from Oslo airport are now reported to be returning to normal.

Winds speeds of up to 64mph were recorded along Denmark's west coast, with hurricane-force winds of 85mph recorded in one location. Motorists have been warned about fallen trees in southern Jutland, but no injuries were reported as the worst weather came in the very early hours of the morning.

Bad weather saw Swedish motorways reduced to single-lane traffic

The Great Belt Bridge linking eastern and western Denmark was closed to vehicles for several hours on Thursday because of the high winds, but has since reopened.

Odense, Denmark's third most populous city, suffered power cuts this morning and there were also minor power failures across the country. Several thousand households in southern Sweden were also without power.

International ferries between Ystad in southern Sweden and the Danish Baltic island of Bornholm, Gedser in southern Denmark and Germany's Rostock and between Danish Elsinore and Swedish Helsingborg were all cancelled along with many domestic crossings.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Sweden
14 Jul 04 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Denmark
16 Nov 04 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Norway
06 Jul 04 |  Country profiles


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