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Storm dislocates traffic in southern Finland

Police in parts of southern Finland have reported several minor road accidents as driving snow and high winds decrease visibility for motorists travelling on slushy and slippery roads. With the storm expected to intensify during the course of the day, there may be little relief in sight for traffic authorities.

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Driving snow snarled traffic across southern Finland. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

At least seven cars have careened off roads in the Uusimaa region, according to police in Vantaa, who add that this is remarkable given the extremely poor driving conditions. Police also say there have been no serious injuries reported.

There have been similar reports of motorists losing the battle against the elements in southwest Finland. Road traffic authorities have confirmed that drivers face particularly challenging conditions in southern and southwestern coastal areas due to the snow piling up on roads and the heavy snowfall.

Flights grounded in Helsinki

Meanwhile passengers looking to travel to Tallinn and Copenhagen were stranded as flights by Estonian Air and SAS were grounded due to the poor weather conditions.

Airport officials also confirmed that a few inbound flights were cancelled Friday morning.  Otherwise flights were operating normally despite the severe weather.

“Our runways are operating normally and overall the situation at the airport is good. There may be small delays because of the storm,” said Finavia spokesman Mikko Saariaho.

Shipping traffic delayed

The Silja Serenade passenger ship en route from Stockholm to Helsinki was delayed by about two hours as the blizzard raged at sea. It’s now estimated that it will arrive in Helsinki at about 1.00 pm.

Viking Line’s Gabriella cruise ship will also dock late in Helsinki. Spokesperson Christa Grönlund said the vessel won’t reach port until about 4.00 o’clock this afternoon.

Powerful head winds are said to be slowing the vessels as they make their way through the sea.

“All our passengers are fine, but the journey isn’t necessarily comfortable due to the choppy seas,” said Tallink Silja communications chief Marika Nöjd.

Helsinki harbour master Antti Pulkkinen said that shipping travel between Helsinki and Tallinn was proceeding almost according to schedule, but that acknowledged that there might be some delays.

Trains delayed

Long distance trains are delayed by between 30 minutes and two hours, while commuter services are delayed between 15 and 45 minutes.

Several long-distance services have been cancelled. 'K' commuter trains between Helsinki and Kerava are running as 'N' trains and stopping at all stations, while 'I' trains between Helsinki and Tikkurila have been cancelled.

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