Sweden hit by extreme cold as 1,000 vehicles trapped by snow overnight

Temperatures drop below minus 40°C in some regions of Scandinavia

Hundreds of cars trapped in snow as temperatures plummet in Sweden

Hundreds of cars trapped in snow as temperatures plummet in Sweden
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More than a thousand people in Sweden had to be rescued after they became trapped in their vehicles for nearly 24 hours following heavy snowfall.

Rescue teams and the military worked overnight to evacuate stranded people on the E22 main road between the towns of Horby and Kristianstad in the Nordic nation's far south on Wednesday night.

Ploughs had failed to remove the snow drifts that had caused gridlock on the motorways.

Many cars were abandoned as the evacuation continued, while others were able to turn around as rescue workers cut holes in the metal barriers separating southbound and northbound lanes, news agency TT reported, citing rescue services.

Scandinavia has been hit by freezing conditions in recent days, with some areas experiencing the coldest temperatures in decades.

Electricity was cut to about 4,000 homes in Arctic Sweden, where temperatures plummeted to minus 38°C, according to Swedish public radio.

The Kvikkjokk-Arrenjarka weather station in northern Sweden recorded its coldest night for 25 years on Tuesday night, with temperatures dropping to minus 43.6°C.

Meteorologists are forecasting even colder temperatures for the rest of the week as the freezing weather shifts farther south.

In neighbouring Denmark, motorists were advised to avoid driving around Aarhus, the country's second-largest city, where traffic has caused jams of up to 30 kilometres.

“The roads are causing major problems … many motorists have been stuck in queues for several hours,” Danish police said on X, formerly Twitter. “So think twice and stay at home”.

In Denmark, up to half a metre of snow has fallen, the most since 2011, according to meteorological institute DMI.

In Norway's far north, in Kautokeino, the temperature fell to minus 41.6°C overnight.

Schools remained closed in several municipalities in the south of the country following heavy snowfalls in recent days, and some were expected to stay closed on Friday.

Police have advised against driving and all trains between Oslo and Kristiansand have also been cancelled.

In the Norwegian capital, temperatures are expected to fall to as low as minus 25°C this weekend.

Updated: January 10, 2024, 1:29 PM