Sweden's Natural Disasters

Victoria Meng

Floods

First of all, because of the high number of lakes and other bodies of water in Sweden, floods are a constant problem.

For this purpose, the MSB (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency) keeps maps for areas at risk, and monitors the development of floods by reporting high water discharges on a weekly basis to the Ministry of Defence. As a result of this system, early signals are received about the need for materials and other resources if flooding occurs.

Sweden also keeps extra flood resources (including sandbags, temporary flood barriers, and water pumps), and has shutting-down devices for water supply and sewage systems.

Landslides

The location, topography, and nature of the ground of some areas of Sweden makes them susceptible to landslides, and some buildings have been built in landslide sensitive areas.

Because of this, the MSB keeps stability maps in areas with buildings, which show areas that are susceptible to landslides and those that are in need of a geotechnical survey to determine ground stability (Many municipalities have access to this type of survey mapping).

Snowstorms

Because of Sweden’s Northern location in the world, it’s fairly prone to snowstorms (mainly in Northern Sweden), which will almost for sure continue to affect Sweden.

However, for this purpose, Sweden keeps extra resources for major storms in depots, like generators that can be lent out to storm-hit areas that have lost electric power.

Avalanches

Sweden’s ski resorts are also known to have experienced avalanches, because of their mountainous location, and how much snow Sweden has every winter (which means that there’s a lot of snow to pile at the tops of the mountains).

This will also most likely continue to be a problem in the future; though only in ski resorts and other areas around the Scandinavian mountains.

Hurricanes

Sweden has had quite a few hurricanes in the past, although they don’t happen very frequently and are fairly weak.

Earthquakes

Sweden has also had a few (fairly light and weak, though feelable) earthquakes in the past.

However, they aren't to be worried about, because: a) Sweden isn't anywhere near the edge of a tectonic plate, b) it also isn't known to have that much seismic activity, and c) the earthquakes in Sweden don’t tend to cause much damage anyway.

Forest Fires

Due to the high number of forests and other plants in Sweden, the country is prone to forest fires.

For example, forest fires occurred on June 2nd, 2008, that were so large that they were actually threatening to spread to the residential areas nearby. The cause was unknown, but extremely dry, windy weather made the fires incredibly difficult to put out.

This will probably remain a problem, due to how well-maintained the number of forests in Sweden are.

However, this is not to be worried about, as the MSB has developed a national information system (available on the internet) for fire brigades and administrative boards, which contains information about how the weather can affect fire risks, and data for prevention. Sweden also keeps extra resources for major forest fires, so it's very prepared in case another one occurs.
For areas where the consequences of natural disasters can be especially serious, the government allocates 40 million Swedish kronor per year for preventive measures.