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Storm in Ostrobothnia felled trees, cut power, shut down ferry service

Rescue workers in northern Ostrobothnia had a busy weekend due to damage caused by storm winds. All of Oulu-Koillismaa rescue department units were out on call throughout the region on Saturday.

Hailuodon lauttaranta Lyyli-myrskyn aikana
Image: Ari-Pekka Sirviö / Yle

The heavy winds tore off the canopy roof of bargain department store Halpahalli in Liminka, forcing it to close Saturday afternoon. The storm also caused a temporary shutdown of ferry service to Hailuoto island late in the day.

Winds also brought down trees onto road and caused traffic problems in areas around Oulu and Jokilaakso. Officials temporarily shut down route 786 from Oulainen to Kärsämäki due to trees knocked down in the road.

Oulu-Koillismaa fire chief Kimmo Virkkala said that there were many calls for assistance and that all of their rescue units were busy responding throughout the day Saturday.

Storm cut power to thousands

Scores of homes and businesses were without power as of Saturday evening in northern Ostrobothnia – in Oulu, Haapavesi, Kalajoki, Kärsämäki, Nivala Pyhäjoki, Pyhäjärvi, Raahe and Siikalatva.

In an update on its website, some 4,500 Oulu Seudun Sähkö customers had power cuts caused by the storm, and some will have to wait until Sunday to get it repaired. The company called the storm the worst in a decade.

Mobile operator DNA tweeted that their antenna and cable networks were also experiencing difficulties due to the storm.

Winds winding down

The Finnish Meteorological Institute tweeted that its Nahkiainen lighthouse wind speeds reached up to 32.9 metres per second on Saturday evening. On land there were reports of winds up reaching 28.1 metres per second in Pelsonsuo, some 80 km southeast of Oulu.

The FMI said storms of this magnitude are rare at this time of year, but that it appears the winds are dying down. The storm system is working its way west towards Koillismaa, but will decrease in severity as the day progresses Sunday.

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