Weather warnings

In Sweden, the government weather agency, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), provides weather forecasts and issues weather warnings. When a weather warning is issued, it means that the weather may pose a risk to people and cause societal disruptions, such as traffic disruptions or power outages.
Updated

Weather warnings may be issued for storms, heavy snowfall, freezing rain, and lightning. SMHI also issues warnings regarding high water levels, which may result in flooding.

Updated weather warnings

SMHI currently uses warning levels 1, 2 and 3. These levels are determined based on certain predetermined limits. For example, a certain amount of snow for a specific length of time results in the same warning level, regardless of where in the country it occurs or when in the year it happens.

From october 2021, a warning will instead be issued based on the consequences or disruptions the weather may cause in society. At the same time, the old warning categories will be replaced with yellow, orange and red categories, with red as the most serious.

Yellow warning:

  • Be on alert – especially in weather-sensitive areas.
  • Take appropriate preventative measures if you reside or are staying in a vulnerable area or if you are in a risk group.

Some damage may occur to property and the environment. Disruption of some public services. Individuals or certain groups can be seriously affected. Those who reside or are staying in vulnerable areas or who are in a risk group should take preventative measures.

Orange warning:

  • Avoid exposing yourself to the weather.
  • Take appropriate measures to reduce consequences for life, property and the environment.

In the event of an orange warning, the weather can endanger public safety, and cause serious damage to property and the environment and disruption of some public services. Individuals or groups that are particularly vulnerable can be seriously affected.

Red warning:

  • Do not expose yourself to the weather. 
  • Take preventative measures to reduce consequences for life, property and the environment.

In the event of a red warning, the weather conditions can seriously endanger public safety, and cause very serious damage to property and the environment and extensive disruption. The general public should refrain from all activities that entail exposure. 

SMHI's warning classification

Weather warning class 1 is the lowest class of warning. This kind of warning means that the weather could lead to risks to public safety and disruption of some public services.

Weather warning class 2 is the second highest class of warning. This kind of warning means that the weather could be dangerous to people, cause considerable structural damage, and significant disruption of important public services, such as electricity, phone service and transportation. The public is urged to monitor new information via internet, radio or TV.

Weather warning class 3 is the most serious class of warning. This kind of warning means that there is a risk of extreme weather that could be very dangerous to the general public and cause major disruptions to important public services. The public is urged to monitor new information via internet, radio or TV.

Fire risk and high temperatures

SMHI also issues warnings for potential forest or brush fires, and for high temperatures that are expected to affect people's health. This mainly applies to elderly and sick people.

Warnings are published in Swedish and English on SMHI's website no later than 24 hours before the warning goes into effect. Swedish media usually provide information about weather warnings when severe disruptions are expected.