Storm Alexander makes landfall in southern Sweden
People in the south of Sweden are bracing for Storm Alexander, which is battering the region with high winds, rains and some snow. The powerful storm as even prompted traffic officials to close the Öresund bridge that connects Sweden and Denmark.
According to SMHI, Storm Alexander will blew through Sweden for just a short period of time and the winds will be at the strongest at around 9 - 10 p.m. on Friday before easing off as they pass into Finland, which is good news for those Swedes celebrating Lucia outdoors on Saturday.
In the meantime, emergency management officials are urging caution.
"We are telling people to make sure that they have enough torches or candles at home in case of a blackout," says Törbjörn Krokström at Southern rescue services. He also tells news agency TT that people should check outdoors to make sure that all objects are secure.
"We are telling people to make sure that they tie down any loose objects in gardens, patios and balconies and review the safety of any scaffolding or temporary structures. It is also good to make sure that any boats in the water are well anchored so that they will not blow away in the strong winds. People should stay indoors if possible during the storm as a precaution," Törbjörn Krokström tells news agency TT.
In the port of Halmstad, workers are preparing against an expected rapid rise in water levels. A 300 meter long floating embankment of containers has been put in place to protect the quay area from flooding, reports P4 Halland.
The water level is expected to rise by one meter in some places along the coast of Halland when the storm moves in this evening. Hurricane Gudrun in 2005 hit the port of Halmstad really hard - over 1600 imported cars worth more than SEK 300 million were destroyed by the floods.
The low pressure front will hit Halland and Skåne and Sweden's met office SMHI has issued a Class 2 warning for Skåne, Österlen, Halland, Kronoberg, Öland and Gotland with winds expected to reach 25 meters per second, affecting infrastructure in those areas.
The Swedish Transport Administration says it will cancel train traffic on those lines where there is a risk of falling trees. Those trains on lines unaffected will continue to run but at slower speeds.
The county of Skåne is well prepared in advance of the storm, says Johan Ekerman, in the county council's department of emergency planning.
"All organisations are well prepared, but we also hope that citizens are prepared," he tells Swedish Radio News.
A class 2 weather warning means that the public can expect weather that could pose a danger to themselves, cause considerable material damage and major disruptions to everyday life. The public is advised to follow information online, on the radio or TV.