Finland's recent mild, spring-like temperatures are to take a hiatus over the weekend, according to Yle weather forecasters.
The mild weather, which managed to melt a good deal of snow cover in southern Finland starting late last month, will be replaced by subzero temperatures across most of the country, according to Yle meteorologist Matti Huutonen.
On Friday evening, a low pressure system from the north is expected to sweep over the country, bringing precipitation on Saturday in the form of rain, sleet or snow, depending on the location. Five to ten centimeters of new snow is possible in northern and central areas on Saturday.
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Meanwhile, in southern Finland where above-freezing temperatures will likely prevail, the precipitation will likely arrive in the form of sleet or rain.
But those warmer temperatures will again vanish overnight, according to Huutonen.
"On Sunday, the northerly winds will bring cold air to the whole country, and after that, frosty conditions are expected across Finland. The weather will be colder than it usually is during the last week of the winter holidays," Huutonen explained.
In this case, the frosty weather will be ideal for outdoor winter activities and sports. Daytime high temperatures in the north on Sunday will average between -10 to -15C while in southern areas of the country it will be around -5 to -10C.
After the weekend's up-and-down weather, most of the country will be sunny on Monday, with the exception of northern areas which will be cloudier as the new week begins, Huutonen said.
Colder than usual
The meteorologist said Finland normally sees milder conditions at this time of year.
Early March temperatures in southern Finland usually average just above the freezing point, in central areas it's just below zero, while Lapland typically sees temperatures of around 10-15 degrees below zero.
"The mass of cold air is spreading all the way into Central Europe, and will likely continue throughout next week," he said, noting that the continent's spring-weather break would be broader than Finland's.
The wintry weather is scheduled to arrive as winter vacation travellers are expected to drive home from holiday trips. Schools in Northern Karelia, North Savo, Northern Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and Lapland are on break until the end of this week.
But traffic attendant Marko Nuutinen of the transportation monitoring firm Fintraffic said he doubted the weather would contribute significantly to road congestion problems.
However, the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has issued warnings for poor driving conditions across most of the country on Saturday.