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Not so sweet November

The last month's weather has been exceptional in many parts of the country. The period was marked by particularly high temperatures and heavy rainfall. Thermal winter began on average rather late and is yet to arrive in southern Finland.

Ihmisiä sateenvarjoineen Itäkeskuksessa Helsingissä 4. marraskuuta.
Rainy Helsinki days abounded in November. Image: Milla Takala / Lehtikuva

Those who noted a wet and warm autumn will be pleased to know that their intuition is supported by the statistics.

In western and central Lapland temperatures were higher than the long term average, while in the south and along the west coast, average temperatures were abnormally high, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). In south-western Finland, the November average was 5 degrees Celsius, while in northwest Lapland it was almost 7 degrees below freezing.

While it may provide little consolation for those lamenting the lack of sunshine, a November this warm happens once every 10 years, according to the FMI. In the last fifty years the warmest years have been bunched in comparatively close together, occurring in 2000, 2005 and 2011.

Furthermore, across almost all of Finland rainfall was noticeably heavy. In Central Finland, Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu, showers were unusually prevalent and only Lapland recorded drier days than usual.

South still fleeing winter's touch

Overall, autumn was generally warmer than the norm. Thermal autumn – when the temperature consistently stays below 10 degrees Celsius – began throughout the country on September 20th. Usually its official start in Lapland is around the last week of August.

Thermal winter – that is, when the average temperature remains below freezing – started in Lapland mid-October, which is not unusual. However, in Central Finland winter started late, at the end of November.

The frosty fingers of thermal winter have not yet gained a grasp in the south and eastern parts of the country. Long term statistics show that, on average, it starts no later than November 21st, but there can be a notable differences year to year.

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