Autumn school holidays turning wintry

The autumn holiday for Finnish schoolchildren may seem more like a winter vacation with subzero temperatures in Lapland and snow making an appearance in central parts of the country.

At Kolari, along the border with Sweden, roads were snowy and slippery already on Friday. Image: Lehtikuva

There are sunny skies in the forecast for the early part of the autumn holiday week, but as of Wednesday, a powerful low-pressure front is likely to bring a change to the weather.

In most parts of Finland, schoolchildren are enjoying a week's break from classes but in some areas, many will be dressing for winter weather.

The week is expected to be a real mixed bag, kicking off with mostly sunny skies around the country, then on to rain, sleet and snow, and nighttime temperatures below freezing even in southern areas.

According to Yle Meteorologist Joonas Koskela, the best days for outdoor activities will be at the start of the week.

"Looking at our forecast, the prettiest day will be Tuesday when it will be sunny throughout much of the country, with subzero temperatures in the north and temperatures well above freezing in the south," Koskela said.

Winter in Lapland, snowy days further south

By mid-week, however, those brisk, sunny autumn days will give way to snow, sleet and high winds as the weather becomes increasingly variable.

"A low-pressure area will be stationary over Finland, with precipitation coming and going. The timing and the exact locations are still uncertain, but in much of the country we will get rain for the rest of the week," Koskela explains.

Northern Lapland saw about 20 centimetres accumulation of snow cover in many places over the weekend. In Kittilä, one weather observation station reported 48 centimetres of snow on the ground. More snow is on the way in Lapland, another 20 to 30 centimetres if the current forecast holds true.

"It is not unheard of, but there is quite an unusual amount of snow in the current forecasts for October," Koskela pointed out.

In southern regions, the type of precipitation – rain, sleet or a mix of the two - will depend on the direction of the prevailing winds.

In contrast, an area extending from Northern Ostrobothnia into Eastern Finland is very likely to get 10 centimetres of snow on Wednesday. Western parts of the country may see snow on Wednesday night.

However, the wintry weather in these regions won't last, as warmer air pushes in, turning the snow to rain.

Slippery roads

As for temperatures during the week, Koskela describes the forecast as "interesting" in southern parts of the country, with the thermometer bouncing between subzero readings at night and up to +10C during the day.

Motorists should take note of the nighttime frosts in much of the country from the beginning of the week which will make for slippery roads in the mornings.

In Lapland, temperatures will drop again on Monday and stay below freezing for the remainder of the week. Depending on the wind and cloud cover, Lapland will see nighttime temperatures of around -10C to -15C during the early part of the week.

Holidaymakers planning to enjoy outdoor activities may want to schedule them for the start of the week, or put them off until the coming weekend, after the wet windy weather starting Wednesday has passed.