Blizzards paralyze large part of Sweden

STOCKHOLM, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- A large part of Sweden was paralyzed on Monday following heavy snowfall over the weekend, with the capital city of Stockholm particularly affected.

(File photo: CGTN)

Motorists, some of whom had not yet switched to winter tires, were struggling due to wet and heavy snow on the roads, and several train departures were canceled while flights were delayed, local media reported.

On Sunday, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) issued yellow and orange alerts for southern Sweden due to foreseen hazards in the wake of the snowfall, and people were also advised to work from home on Monday if possible.

Schools in the southwestern city of Trollhattan decided to offer distance education for nearly 3,000 high school students, as all bus lines were canceled.

The snow also affected power lines with disruptions reported from various areas. In the Kalmar region some 300 km south of the capital, power company E.ON deployed tracked vehicles and helicopters to fix power lines, Swedish Television (SVT) reported.

With nearly a quarter of the country's population, the Stockholm region was most affected.

Around 1,600 railroad switches in and around the capital were jammed by 30-40 centimeters of wet snow and had to be cleared from snow, a spokesperson for the Swedish Transport Administration told SVT.

The blocked railroads in the Stockholm region, which is a hub linking the north and the south of the country, had a knock-on effect on rail traffic in other regions.

Roads were also blocked by snow, fallen trees and branches, as well as non-moving vehicles, Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reported.

"We prioritize roads where public transport, the emergency services, and important deliveries need clear roads," Malinda Flodman, a spokesperson at the municipal roads and traffic department, told DN.

She also said that around ten snow-clearing vehicles had broken down under the heavy burden and a few vehicles were also damaged by lightning in the early hours of Monday.

As snow-clearing operations were still underway at noon Monday, SMHI forecasted the snowfall in southern Sweden to continue throughout the day.