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November starts with cold blast in Lapland, milder weather on the way

Saturday will bring snow, sleet and rain to most of the country but Sunday looks dry and bright.

Jääkiteitä ikkunassa
The mercury plunged to -26C in northernmost Finland on Friday. Image: Pekka Sipilä / Yle

Residents of Inari in Finnish Lapland awoke on Friday to this winter's coldest thermometer reading so far. According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), it was -26 degrees Celsius at Lake Kirakkajärvi — nearly as frigid at Nuorgam in the country's northernmost municipality, Utsjoki.

October was about three degrees chillier than the long-term average in Northern Finland, says the FMI. The region's average temperature during the month was between -3 and -4 degrees. Meanwhile the country's mildest area was the southwestern archipelago, where the average was above +7, close to the long-term average.

The warmest reading of the month was on 1 October in Helsinki when the mercury hit 13.4 degrees. The coldest was in the far northwestern village of Enontekiö where it sank to -24.2 on Monday.

October was also rainier than usual, especially in North Karelia and other eastern areas.

Slippery roads on Saturday

More precipitation is in store on Saturday after a dry, partly sunny Friday, says Yle meteorologist Matti Huutonen.

It's expected to come down as rain in the southern third of the country as well as the Oulu region, with sleet in between and snow further north.

Those driving in central and northern areas on Saturday should brace for poor driving conditions due to sleet or snow. Afternoon temperatures will range between +7 in the southwest to -13 in the northwestern arm of Lapland.

Sunday now looks to be dry and partly clear, a brighter outlook than in previous forecasts. That goes for the early part of next week too, says Huutonen.

While earlier projection models predicted up to 30cm of snow in southwest Finland by next Tuesday, the latest versions suggest that an expected band of precipitation may just graze the coast or miss the country altogether, he says.

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