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March 4, 2024

Sweden Shivers Through Coldest January Night in Over Two Decades

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Jan 4, 2024

Sweden experienced its coldest January night in over 25 years this week, as an Arctic blast brought frigid temperatures across Scandinavia. Parts of the country saw lows plummet below -40°C, breaking records and causing major disruptions.

Deep Freeze Grips the Nordics

An intense cold spell has much of Scandinavia firmly in its icy grip. Temperatures across Sweden and neighboring Finland plunged to between -35°C and -45°C (-31°F to -49°F) on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Swedish city of Umeå saw the mercury drop to -43.6°C (-46.5°F) overnight Wednesday into Thursday. This was the coldest night Sweden has recorded in January since 1999, according to weather records [1].

Several locations in Finland also recorded -40° Celsius temperatures this week. The city of Kittilä dipped down to -40.7°C (-41.3°F) on Wednesday, while Napapiiri sank to -41.1°C (-42°F) the same day [2].

Across Norway, temperatures fell between -20°C and -30°C (-4°F to -22°F). More temperate Denmark saw lows between -5°C and -15°C (23°F to 5°F) [3].

Disruptions Across Sweden as Cold Paralyzes Infrastructure

The deep freeze caused major disruptions across Sweden as infrastructure struggled. Hundreds of motorists were stranded overnight on roads and highways amid heavy snowfall and brutal cold.

Police and rescue workers evacuated passengers from about 100 cars and buses stuck on roads in southern Sweden Tuesday night into Wednesday. Bitter temperatures meant rescue efforts took all night, with the final vehicles extracted around 8am Wednesday [4].

Trains schedules faced delays and cancellations as switches froze. About 550 passengers traveling from Copenhagen to Hamburg were stuck at a small station in southern Sweden overnight Tuesday, huddling inside the stationary train as temperatures hit -20°C (-4°F) outside [5].

Flights were also impacted by the wintry weather. Around 265 flights to and from Copenhagen Airport were cancelled on Wednesday [6].

Schools across Sweden closed as local authorities warned families to avoid spending prolonged time outdoors in the dangerous cold. Homeless shelters worked overtime to bring people inside.

“This weather is life-threatening for people who spend lengthy periods outdoors,” said Johan Lindgren, chairman of an organization for the homeless in Malmö city [7].

Date Location Low Temperature
Jan 3 Umeå, Sweden -43.6°C
Jan 4 Kittilä, Finland -40.7°C
Jan 4 Napapiiri, Finland -41.1°C

Table showing record low temperatures across Scandinavia this week

Cold Weather Deaths Mount Across Europe

The extreme cold gripping the Nordics comes as floods and winter storms continue to batter northwest Europe. Rivers have burst banks in Germany, leaving 7 dead in the country this week. Austria, Switzerland and France are also facing high flood threats.

At least 4 homeless people are confirmed to have died due to hypothermia amid plunging temperatures in Norway. Authorities warn the death toll is likely higher [8].

In Warsaw, Poland, five people died from exposure after temperatures fell to -7°C (19°F). An additional 7 died of hypothermia in Lithuania [9].

Power Outages Affect Tens of Thousands

The icy weather has left tens of thousands without electricity across the Nordics.

In Finland, some 80,000 households suffered power outages earlier this week. Sweden saw 75,000 left without power, while Norway faced 23,000 blackouts [10].

Energy companies have scrambled emergency efforts to restore electricity to homes and critical infrastructure like healthcare facilities.

Arctic Blast Just a Sign of Things to Come

Experts say the extreme cold snap offers merely a glimpse of the winter weather to come. January through March are traditionally Scandinavia’s coldest months.

A climate professor in Sweden has warned intense periods of cold air from the Arctic are likely over the next months as climate change warms the region faster than the rest of the planet [11].

The trend of milder winters in the Nordics seen over past decades could reverse as the effects of climate change accelerate, experts say. Residents across Scandinavia are bracing for a potentially long and brutal rest of winter.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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