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It's official: First snow falls in Finnish Lapland

While a sprinkling of snow fell in northern Lapland in mid-September, Wednesday's precipitation was the first to meet the Finnish Meteorological Institute's clear and official definition of the season's first snow.

Poro Saariselän lumisessa maisemassa
A reindeer in Saariselkä on Oct. 11. Image: Annikki Portti

Residents of Finland’s far north woke up to a white landscape on Wednesday. The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) measured three centimetres of snow in several places in Finnish Lapland at 9 am. These included the Saariselkä ski resort in the municipality of Inari, Kenttärova in Kittilä and Värriö in Salla. Meanwhile there were readings of 1-2 cm at Karesuvanto in Enontekiö and at Ruuvaoja in Savukoski.

This was the winter’s first snow according to the FMI’s criteria of a minimum one centimetre on the ground at 9 am.

Ensilumi Saariselällä
Saariselkä on Wednesday morning. Image: John Wind

The village of Vuotso in Sodankylä had two centimetres of snow at 8 am, but it had melted away by 9 am so did not meet the criteria. Vuotso, the southernmost predominantly Sámi village in Finnish Lapland, is about 40km from the Saariselkä resort.

Likewise there was snow over much of the large municipality of Enontekiö, which includes all of Finland’s north-western arm – but not at 9 am at any of the official FMI measurement points besides Karesuvanto.

Nelostie Inarissa Kaunispään kohdalla
Rt. 4 in Kaunispää, between Inari and Saariselkä. Image: Liikenneviraston kelikamera
A hazardous driving advisory was issued due to snow or sleet for all of Enontekiö on Wednesday morning.

There was already some snowfall in northern Lapland in mid-September, but not enough at any of the FMI’s weather stations to meet its definition of first snow.

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