Finnish Independence Day dawns stormy today Sunday. Ari Mustola from the Finnish Meteorological Institute said late Saturday that southern and south-western sea areas and the southern coast will experience strong, gusty winds.
"The Gulf of Finland and the North Sea are now at storm levels," he says. "The mean velocity for such winds, 21 metres per second, has been broken in places."
Mustola says that anything above 20 m/s can cause tangible damages.
For now trees fallen on electricity lines or roads have not caused significant trouble. In the wee hours of Sunday some 2,000 households were without power, mostly in South-West Finland.
Wind and sea rising
On Sunday afternoon the wind will pick up and remain gusty through to nighttime. The sea level was high on Saturday and is expected to rise even higher in coastal regions on Sunday, to extremely high levels in the archipelagic seas and Bay of Bothnia.
"When things get out of hand, the water won't stay in the sea at all," Mustonen says, predicting floods.
In Oulu, for instance, high seas are measured at 115 centimetres and very high seas at 140 centimetres above average. In Helsinki the corresponding figures are 80 cm and 115 cm for high and very high seas respectively.
Early on Sunday Helsinki's waters were at more than 100 cm. Many footpaths are flooded but no accidents have been reported as of yet.
Wet heat record
Despite the tempestuous conditions Finnish Independence Day will be celebrated by Finns around the country in uncharacteristically warm weather. The Mariehavn airport in Åland measured a 10.9 degrees Celsius temperature, which is the new official record. That figure may be won on Sunday on the mainland.
"The previous record for December is from 2006," Mustonen says,"and that was Independence Day too."