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WEATHER

Sweden issues health warnings over Midsummer weekend heatwave

Sweden's state weather forecaster SMHI has issued a yellow warning for the high temperatures across large parts of Sweden this Midsummer weekend, as people's health could be seriously affected.

Sweden issues health warnings over Midsummer weekend heatwave
People sunbathing at Mälarhöjdsbadet. SMHI has warned of "very high temperatures" in the next few days. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist / TT

People in Sweden have been warned to keep cool over the Midsummer weekend, as soaring temperatures mean the heat will affect some people’s health.

“In general, we in Sweden have a bad idea of ​​how dangerous the heat can be. It can be dangerous for everyone, not just for risk groups”,  Elin Andersson, researcher in environmental health at the Swedish Public Health Agency, told newswire TT.

She advised that certain individuals such as elderly, chronically ill, pregnant women, young children, elite exercisers and those on medication, take extra care.

Certain medicines, such as antidepressants, diuretics, beta blockers and neuroleptics, can affect the body’s fluid and heat regulation.

“If you take this type of medicine, it is good to contact your doctor when there is a heat wave. Sometimes you may need to temporarily change the dose”, Andersson told TT.

Caution should also be taken with young children under the age of five, as they haven’t yet developed their ability to sweat properly.

“They need help to stay cool and replenish fluids continuously. Another tip is to serve extra liquid-rich food, such as vegetables and fruit”, Andersson said.

Pregnant women should also take extra care in the heat, she added.

The most dangerous consequence of prolonged heat is dehydration, which often affects the elderly and people who exert themselves physically.

“Our general advice is to drink more than usual when it is hot. But what is right depends on who you are. For example, people with certain types of kidney disease should not drink too much. You must check with your doctor.”

Elin Andersson says that heat stroke is unusual in Sweden but heat-fatigue is more common.

“You can feel tired, dizzy, weak, nauseous and have an elevated heart rate. Heat exhaustion can become severe and turn into heat stroke. This is when the heart rate gets even higher and the body’s heat regulation stops working.”

Other symptoms are that sweating may stop completely and that you lose consciousness.

“If you suspect heat stroke, you should always call 112”, she said.

In Båstad, the municipal water company is urging residents to be restrained with their use of water, as there is a risk the taps will be empty by this afternoon.

“We had normal behaviour until half past three yesterday, then a completely crazy consumption began that ended at midnight. Then the same trend started again this morning”, Jonas Håkansson, head of the Drinking Water department at NSVA, told newswire TT.

“This has to do with the heat. It is obvious that many people come to their summer houses where they plan to celebrate Midsummer and think that they can use the drinking water exactly as they want.

“One feels a great deal of frustration and disappointment that people do not take greater individual responsibility,” he said.

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WEATHER

Floods as Swedish cities get two months of rain in 24 hours

Large areas of Sweden saw extreme levels of rain over the weekend, with the city of Linköping receiving more than 100mm of rain in 24 hours, twice as it usually receives in the whole of August. 

Floods as Swedish cities get two months of rain in 24 hours

According to Swedish weather forecaster SMHI, the Linköping-Malmslätt area received 96mm between Saturday night at 8am on Sunday morning. The area normally received between 60mm and 70mm in August as a whole. 

“There was such an absurd amount of rain that the data was at first rejected by our system,” Therese Fougman, a meteorologist at the forecaster, told Sweden’s TT newswire. “It is continuing to rain during the day, and it is lying in a band over Östergötland, Sörmland och further up towards Uppland, predicting there would be a further 40mm to 50mm in the next 12 hours. 

The downpours have led to flooding in several areas, and caused traffic problem with cars at risk of aquaplaning on roads such as the E18, which were covered in a thick layer of water. 

Lennart Ågren, who was the duty leader of rescue services in Östra Götaland, told TT on Sunday afternoon that rescuers had been called out to several floods in Linköping and Mantorp. 

“There were streets under water, and water was running into properties so we had to throw all our resources at it for several hours,” he said. 

In Jönköping, rescue services were called out to flooding at a school and in other places, while in Växjö, lightening hit close to the place where a student party was being held at the local university campus. 

In Linköping, rescue services told TT that they had been called out 30 times. “We’ve been stretched but have managed to handle it,” said Pedher Helmer, who was in charge of rescue services in Östergötland over the weekend. 

The heavy rain is expected to move to Blekinge, Skåne, Öland and Gotland over the coming days, with a risk for flooding. 

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