SMHI warning: Strong winds, snow expected on Thursday

Several warnings apply to Västerbotten on Thursday, including an orange warning in the mountainous areas.
Several warnings apply to Västerbotten on Thursday, including an orange warning in the mountainous areas.

The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) has issued weather warnings across Västerbotten on Thursday due to strong winds.

Västerbottens län 31 januari 2024 12:40

UPDATE: 16:10
Trafikverket issues a warning on its website about difficult traffic conditions in many inland areas, especially on Route 95. The advisory includes warnings about loose snow, snow drifts, and high winds. The same warning applies to routes E45 and E12.

There are reports of trees falling on the road from several locations. The incidents include areas between Kroksjö and Sunnanå on route 816, between Kålaboda and Boberg on route 778, between Yttervik and Örviken on route 827, and between Norra Tuvan and Skeleftehamn on route 372.

UPDATE: 16:00
Sweden has officially set a new wind record with an average wind speed of 51.8 meters per second measured in Stekenjokk, Dorotea, during Thursday morning, as reported by Västerbottens-Kuriren.

Stekenjokk previously held the record from 2017 with a wind speed of 47.8 meters per second.

– Our observational meteorologists have reviewed the data, and it is confirmed, says Viktor Bergman, a meteorologist at SMHI.

The threshold for a hurricane is more than 33 meters per second, so stating that hurricane-force winds prevailed in Stekenjokk on Thursday is not an exaggeration.

UPDATE: 14:20
Ambulance helicopter operations limited due to strong winds.

Pilot Mattias Eriksson from the Swedish Air Ambulance in Lycksele said:

– We are ready to fly today, but mountainous areas are currently inaccessible.

He emphasized their pre-deployment assessments.

– Before every mission, we thoroughly assess the conditions, he said.

– With wind speeds reaching 20 meters per second in Lycksele and 20 to 22 meters per second in Skellefteå, the team remains alert to potential challenges.

UPDATE: 12:50

Skellefteå Kraft goes into heightened alert. 3,215 households are without power

Due to the current weather conditions with strong winds, Skellefteå Kraft is calling in extra personnel to handle disruptions in the power grid, the company announces in a press release.

Most of the day's disruptions have been caused by fallen trees.

Given that the forecast predicts continued winds on Thursday, they are entering a state of heightened alert.

Planned non-urgent work is canceled, and additional personnel are being called in, according to Skellefteå Kraft.

As of 12:18, 3,215 households were without power, according to Skellefteå Kraft's operational map.

UPDATE: 10:30

There is a power outage in Åsjön and the surrounding areas, in Bygdsiljum, in Broträsk and Vebomark and the surrounding areas, as well as in Burträsk and the surrounding areas, according to Skellefteå Kraft's operational map. A total of 564 households are affected. Norran is seeking more information from Skellefteå Kraft. According to their operational map, technicians are on their way.

Areas affected by power cuts.

SMHI warns of a deep low-pressure system passing on Thursday, bringing significantly windy conditions to northern Sweden.

The most severe warning is in effect for the mountains in northern Jämtland and Lapland from 01:00 to 18:00 on Thursday. SMHI strongly advises against going into the mountains during this time due to strong gusty winds and snowfall. Potential risks include risky rescue operations, impaired movement, difficult tent anchoring and difficult orientation due to reduced visibility. There is also a risk of frostbite.

Inland and coastal areas are under a yellow warning between 12:00 and 22:00 on Thursday, indicating very strong gusts to gale-force winds.

"A low pressure system over the Norwegian Sea will bring increasing southwesterly or westerly winds, becoming strong to very strong at 17-23 m/s from Wednesday night into Thursday. Snow showers, possibly heavy, are also expected. By Thursday, winds will shift to northwest with further strengthening, reaching 25-30 m/s. Snow showers will continue to be abundant," SMHI writes on its website.

Between 01:00 and 20:00 on the same day, an orange warning is in effect for western Västerbotten. Strong winds, locally reaching gale-force, may cause problems. SMHI notes that trees may fall on roads, causing limited traffic flow, and power cuts are likely. Buildings may also be damaged by flying objects.

The entire county will experience windy conditions on Thursday.

Additionally, there is a risk of extensive damage to forests, according to SMHI.

SMHI lists several potential risks:

  1. Limited road access due to fallen trees.
  2. Risk of delays in bus, train, air, and ferry traffic, with possible cancellations.
  3. Areas with overhead power lines may be affected, causing disruptions in electricity and telecommunications.
  4. Loose objects and temporary structures may be displaced or damaged.
  5. Some damage to forests (clear-cut edges and newly thinned forests), with occasional falling trees or branches.

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