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Snow and freezing rain disrupt holiday traffic

Holiday travels started in earnest this weekend amid hazardous road conditions in most of the country. Sleet also caused delays at the Helsinki Airport.

Autoja ajaa lumisateessa
Image: Markku Ojala / EPA

Fresh snowfall complicated traffic in Finland on Saturday in areas south of the municipality of Kokkola in the west and Lieksa in the east, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Frozen rain and wet, blowing snow made road conditions very hazardous in the areas affected.

No major accidents were reported as of 5 pm on Saturday, but several collisions were reported in the capital city area. Police report that 190 accidents took place already Friday on slippery roads in the lower half of the country, about 40 more than last year during the same period.

Traffic authorities in the southern hub of Tampere predict that traffic will remain heavy throughout the weekend, advising motorists to exercise caution.

Delays at Helsinki Airport

The freezing rain and winds also caused flight delays and cancellations at the capital city region's international airport on Friday. The disruptions are expected to have knock-on effects that may influence timetables until Sunday.

Airport operator Finavia's communications coordinator Mari Kanerva says long-haul flights to Asia have experienced the longest delays, as icy runways and frozen aircraft engines have slowed things down.

"There are many people travelling and the delays have naturally been very unfortunate for them. We regret any inconveniences created by the situation," she said.

National carrier Finnair reports that most of the flight delays so far have lasted between one and two hours. It estimates that at least 1,300 of its passengers were affected on Saturday alone.

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