Alexander is unlikely to do anywhere near as much damage as this December 1999 storm. File photo: Søren Steffen/Scanpix
The winter storm Alexander that was warned about earlier this week is scheduled to hit Denmark on Friday afternoon but may pack less of a punch than originally feared.
Forecasts on Friday morning called for the nation to be hit by powerful winds, but scaled back the warnings that they could reach ‘hurricane-strength’.
To qualify as a hurricane, wind speeds need to reach 32.6 metres per second, but that threshold may only be reached on the island of Bornholm, with the rest of the country getting off easier with wind speeds in the 15-30 m/s range.
But that doesn’t mean that the storm, which has dubbed ‘Alexander’, won’t cause problems. National rail operator DSB announced several train cancellations and schedule changes that will take affect beginning at 5pm on Friday.
Numerous trains in Jutland will be cancelled after 5pm, while regional trains on Zealand will be cancelled after 9pm. DSB said that Copenhagen’s S-train network will run as normal but may face delays. A full overview of train changes can be seen here.
The Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet) also said that it may be necessary to close bridges and roads as the storm hits, and advised commuters to stay up to date by checking its website.
Two major bridges – the Øresunds Bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden and the Great Belt Fixed Link (Storebæltsbroen) connecting Zealand and Funen – are closed when winds exceed 25 m/s.
Meteorology institute DMI stressed that even if the wind storm doesn’t officially reach hurricane strength, it can still be dangerous.
“Tiles can easily fly off of roofs, trees can fall and things will be really whipped around. I would be careful going outside and avoid it if possible,” DMI spokesman Henning Gisselø told Jyllands-Posten.
He said that Alexander should hit western Jutland by 5pm and move its way eastward before reaching the Copenhagen area around 9pm. Southern Sweden is also bracing for the storm.