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Cold front moves in, temps of -40C forecast for Finnish Lapland

Winter took its time coming to southern Finland this year, but recent snowstorms put an end to mild conditions there. The coming week will see temperatures drop throughout the country.

Jalankulkija pakkasessa Muoniossa
Photo from the Lapland municipality of Muonio on January 6 Image: Aku Häyrynen / Lehtikuva

A high pressure front will move in over Finland this weekend, bringing below-zero temperatures that will linger for over a week. The drop in the mercury will combine with scattered snowfall in places to make road conditions hazardous.

Weather forecasts say temperatures of up to minus 10 degrees Celsius will be seen in the south, growing colder as the crow flies north.

"It looks as if the whole country will have freezing temperatures for the next week and a half or so," says Yle's meteorologist Toni Hellinen.

A biting north-easterly wind is expected to make the temperatures feel even colder in places.

Possible record low in Lapland

Temperatures have been low all winter in Finnish Lapland, but the cold dip expected this week could see record-breaking extremes.

"Temperatures will jump back up in Lapland after the weekend, but things could get really cold overnight on Sunday and Monday," Hellinen says.

This winter's current Finnish record of minus 36.8 degrees Celsius was recorded on January 24 in Inari, Finland. Hellinen says there is a good chance is will be broken already tonight in Lapland's central or northern areas.

Ever since 1961, the coldest temperatures in Finland have almost always been recorded in Finnish Lapland. There have only been three exceptions to this rule in 56 years.

Ideal conditions for cross-country skiers

Low temperatures will keep the snow on the ground throughout Finland until at least next week Wednesday. Even the Åland Islands has received snow, although accumulation there is limited to between two and five centimetres.

Despite the cold temperatures in the forecast, meteorologists say virtually no new snow is in store. Flurries may fall on Tuesday and Wednesday, and there is a slight chance of heavier snowfall along the southern coast on Tuesday.

"But only if some humidity gets blown in properly from the open sea on the Gulf of Finland," says Hellinen.

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