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Heavy snow, bitter cold in this week’s forecast

Blizzard conditions may bring as much as 50cm of snow to parts of Southern Finland, followed by a deep freeze.

Estimated snow accumulations, with grey representing under 1cm and dark purple over 60cm.

The second full week of 2021 roars in like a lion – or a snow leopard?

By Monday evening a major low-pressure system will bring blizzard conditions to much of western Finland. Heavy snow will be driven by gale-force winds of up to 21 metres per second blasting western sea areas between Hanko and Vaasa.

Yle meteorologist Joonas Koskela said that western and southern Finland may receive as much as 50cm over the first three days of the week.

Central areas should get about 15cm, with lower accumulations in the east and north.

“On Monday the southwestern and southern coasts will get about 10 cm. Tuesday’s accumulations may be as much as 30cm locally in the south, with another 10cm or so on the way on Wednesday,” Koskela predicted on Sunday evening.

Hazardous driving in south and west

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has issued a 24-hour traffic weather warning beginning on Monday night for a broad swath of southern and western Finland, from Kymenlaakso in the southeast to Pirkanmaa and Satakunta.

It says the probability of very poor road conditions is 60 percent because of the snowstorm, with major traffic disruptions possible and “a significant risk of traffic accidents”.

The FMI notes that snow driven by strong winds may lower visibility and create snowdrifts.

Winds may be as strong as 16 metres a second early Tuesday in southwestern coastal and maritime areas.

Temperatures plunging to -20 or -30

In the early part of the week, temperatures in the south and west will be a few degrees below freezing, elsewhere dipping to -10 degrees Celsius or colder. In the east and north, the thermometer may drop below -20.

“In the southwest the temperature may rise to around zero, so some of the precipitation there may be very wet snow. That sticks readily to trees and so may cause power outages,” warns Koskela.

The precipitation should move off on Wednesday, followed by a shift toward much colder weather. Except for the far north, the latter part of the week will be bitterly cold throughout the country.

On Thursday readings in southern Finland will sink to between -10 and -15 degrees while central areas will shiver in temperatures between -20 and -30. On Friday and Saturday, temperatures will drop further, approaching or reaching -20 even along the south coast.

“It looks as if it will be at least -20 degrees, even during the day, through most of the country,” said Koskela.