A storm christened 'Mauri 18' has made land in western Finland, bringing gale winds of 26.2 metres/second to the Åland Islands and 25.9 m/s to the coastal city of Rauma early Saturday morning.
Winds over Finnish sea areas in the west have exceeded storm levels, bringing heavy rolling waves. The Finnish Meteorological Society issued a warning that waves at sea may surpass four metres in height.
The storm is expected to reach its peak in the western part of the country yet this morning, wreaking its worst on the rest of the country in the afternoon.
Southwest Finland rescue services say the storm already downed many trees overnight in the southwest, knocking out power in the municipalities of Naantali and Merikarvia.
The emergency unit says that the power outages have remained minimal so far, despite the heavy winds. A real-time map in Finnish from the Finnish energy industry consortium shows that less than 2,000 customers of the country's various electricity providers were without power as of 11 am.
The Viking Line and Tallink Silja cruise ships operating out of the southwest city of Turku's port say they plan to stick to their timetables, but reserve the right to make changes if necessary.
Storm will reach capital city region by mid-day
A warning of dangerous winds of up to 20 m/s has been issued for the western, southern and central areas of the country on Saturday.
Yle meteorologist Matti Huutonen predicts that the storm will do its worst over sea in the morning and over land in the afternoon. By the evening, the storm will have lost some of its severity as it moves east.
Huutonen says Mauri 18 is an exceptional storm, as winds this severe over land only occur once every 15 years or so in Finland. Finland is normally hit by a severe autumn storm only once or twice each season, he says.
"This is now the first storm we'll see this autumn," he says.
A previous storm named Mauri wreaked havoc in Finnish Lapland 32 years ago, downing trees like matchsticks and lifting some cottages off their foundations. Two people were killed in the storm.