A person walking their dog in southern Helsinki on Sunday, 17 January 2021. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)


RESIDENTS of the Finnish capital region rejoiced over the long-awaited arrival of snow last week, but the weather is set to change dramatically this week.

Helsingin Sanomat on Saturday wrote that the sub-zero temperatures witnessed last week will make way for rain and temperatures as high as 4°C around the midway point of the week due to a surge of warm air from the south-west.

Antti Kokko, a meteorologist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), told the newspaper that the mercury will climb above the freezing point in areas stretching from the southernmost parts of the country to the northern parts of South Karelia and Satakunta. The rise in temperatures, he reminded, will make roads extremely slippery for all road users, from pedestrians to motorists.

The slippery conditions may take pedestrians by surprise already at the beginning of the week, when the temperatures begin to rise, according to Kokko.

“You shouldn’t be rushing anywhere needlessly whether you’re driving your car or moving by feet so that the risk of driving off and slipping and falling can be eliminated,” advised Raimo Rasijeff, the on-duty executive fire officer at Western Uusimaa Rescue Department. The snow cover will continue to grow and the sub-zero temperatures continue in other parts of the country.

Markus Mäntykannas, a meteorologist at Foreca, pointed out that the rain will increase the density of the snow built up on roofs, posing a threat not only to the roofs themselves but also to passers-by.

“It would be good to consider clearing the snow off the roofs no later than when the temperatures rise, because a new spell of colder weather is already on the horizon. The snow load can become extremely heavy when the snow with high water content freezes after the warm temperatures,” he wrote in a blog for the private weather forecasting company.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT