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No end in sight for frosty spring

The mildest temperatures this month were recorded on Thursday in Hattula, where the mercury hit 8.7 degrees Celsius. Meteorologists say that warmer weather is not on the horizon.

Markku Hartikainen uimaretkellä Rauhaniemen kansankylpylässä Tampereella perjantaina 22. maaliskuuta 2013.
Post-sauna ice swimming, as at this public sauna in Tampere, is still a bracing, icy contrast. Image: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva

Last year south-east Finland recorded thermal spring -- defined as when average temperatures are, as a rule, above freezing -- in the first half of March. Long-term averages show that areas south of North Karelia and Oulu should already be enjoying thermal spring.

The reason Finland is still shivering towards the summer is the polar vortex currently in place to the north of Finland. It is causing colder-than-usual weather conditions across northern Europe and North America.

Temperatures in the south generally rise above zero during the day, but freeze again at night.

Bertel Vehviläinen of the Finnish Environment Institute says that the good winter sports conditions are likely to continue for another couple of weeks. Although snow is already melting in towns and cities, forests and countryside retain decent snow cover.

Vehviläinen cautions that a sudden thaw, accompanied by rainfall, could make spring flooding more serious than usual.

Sunday could be the first time when overnight temperatures are at or above zero on the south coast -- potentially accompanied by snow flurries.

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