Deep freeze brings travel chaos, power outages across Nordic region
Temperatures have plunged to astonishing lows across Scandinavia and Finland over the past week, with several areas recording the coldest readings in over 25 years. The extreme cold has brought major disruptions to travel and infrastructure, even as forecasters warn there may be no relief in sight.
On Tuesday, the small town of Karesuando in northern Sweden saw the mercury drop to a bone-chilling -43.6°C. As the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) reported, this shatters Sweden’s record for the coldest January temperature in over 25 years. The cold snap also smashed records in Finland, where thermometers dipped below -40°C in multiple locations.
Widespread impacts felt across region
The frigid temperatures have had widespread impacts, especially in Sweden, where heavy snow has combined with the cold to snarl travel. Hundreds of motorists were stranded overnight on a key highway linking Denmark and Sweden after a snowstorm hit the region Tuesday. Road closures have been widespread, with Swedish police reporting extremely dangerous driving conditions nationwide.
Many travelers have also faced long delays or cancellations on rail services across Scandinavia. SJ, Sweden’s state-owned train operator, reported that nearly all services north of Stockholm would be cancelled Wednesday due to the weather.
The cold has also cut power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses. In Finland, over 30,000 households briefly lost electricity on Monday. Outages have also been reported in Sweden, including in the capital of Stockholm on Tuesday night.
Forecast offers little hope for warmup
Unfortunately, forecasts offer little hope for a reprieve from the icy grip of winter anytime soon. Temperatures across Lapland and Arctic Finland could remain below -35°C for another week, according to meteorologists. While conditions may become slightly less extreme in southern Sweden and Norway, cold air from Siberia will continue feeding frigid air into the region.
| Forecast Low Temperatures |
| Helsinki, Finland | -18°C |
| Oslo, Norway | -15°C |
| Stockholm, Sweden | -10°C |
With long nights and short days still ahead, experts say sunrise-to-sunset temperatures could remain below freezing through late February. This means continued disruptions to travel and infrastructure failures can be expected across northern Europe.
Bracing for more of the same
After a Christmas thaw melted most of the snow in Stockholm, many residents were ill-prepared when winter returned with a vengeance this week. Hardware stores have seen long lines and dwindling supplies as people scramble to buy road salt, snow shovels, warm clothing and emergency supplies.
But officials warn that stocking up on provisions is also crucial, as heavy snow could make leaving the house difficult at times.
“My best advice is to not go out unless you have to over the next week,” said Maria Andersson, spokesperson for Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency. “Make sure you have enough food and medications in case you do get snowed in temporarily.”
With icy roads, footpaths and airport runways likely to persist thanks to the reinforcing cold, people across the Nordic region are buckling in for several more weeks of slippery, slushy, freezing winter weather.
So in summary, record-shattering cold has descended on northern Europe over the past week, causing travel nightmares, infrastructure damage and power outages across Scandinavia. Temperatures may ease slightly in coming days but will remain bitter cold by any measure, with little hope for aJanuary thaw. People across Sweden, Finland, and Norway are bracing themselves for a prolonged stretch of freezing winter conditions.
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