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Bitter cold this weekend may trigger power outages

Finland will be enveloped in frigid conditions this weekend, with the mercury plunging near -40 in some areas.

Tykkylumi kuusissa
Frozen snow on tree branches may snap electric lines. Image: Jarmo Nuotio / Yle

Yle meteorologist Matti Huutonen says that Finland will tumble into the deep freeze over the next few days. Temperatures may approach -30 degrees Celsius in the south and close to -40 in Finnish Lapland. On Saturday, brisk winds will make the cold potentially dangerous in southern and central areas.

"It means that we may face electricity blackouts. There is now a lot of frozen snow on tree branches and the wind may push them onto power lines. There have already been some outages in central Finland," Huutonen said on Friday afternoon.

The wind will also bring severe wind chill. For instance southern daytime readings of -10 will feel more like -20 degrees, he said.

Health problems for risk groups

On Saturday, the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has issued an advisory of poor road conditions in the south-east because of snow. For Sunday and Monday, there is a severe cold warning for the entire country, from Lapland to the Åland Islands.

"Cold weather may cause health problems for groups at risk," says the FMI, noting that "cold stress complicates outdoor activities" and that "people with chronic illnesses will experience more symptoms than usual".

Huutonen predicts that Sunday and early Monday will bring the sharpest cold, possibly breaking this winter's cold record of -36.6 degrees measured in Salla, Lapland, this past Monday.

"Temperatures will drop throughout the country as colder air streams in from the north and east. It's possible that we may get readings of -20 or even -30 in some parts of the south. But I don't believe we'll break the -40 degree mark, even in Lapland," he said.

"But it will be cold, cold, cold. There will definitely be a spike in electricity consumption," Huutonen added.

Monday will still be frigid, but Jack Frost will loosen his grip by midweek.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, daytime temperatures in southern Finland may be as mild as -1 or -2, the meteorologist predicts.

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