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Snow brings more transport woes

After several days of steady snowfall in many areas, Wednesday brings more hazardous roads and train delays.

Lumisia autoja jääneet lumivallin taakse aurauksen jäljiltä.
With over half a metre of snow in much of Finland, many motorists have become accustomed to digging their cars out daily. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Finland's weather will turn milder on Thursday, with more snow and sleet in store for this weekend.

Snow continues through nearly all of the country on Wednesday, except on the Åland Islands where it has turned to rain. Precipitation will drift away from southern and western Finland during the day.

By afternoon the precipitation will be mostly limited to eastern and northern Finland. There may be some breaks in the cloud cover in the west, with a few lingering flurries, says Finnish Meteorological Institute meteorologist Ari Mustala.

Driving conditions remain poor on Wednesday from southern Finland through northern Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, and up to Sodankylä in Finnish Lapland. The FMI warns of very bad road conditions in Uusimaa, Kymenlaakso and southern Karelia due to snowy surfaces and blowing snow.

Meanwhile state rail operator VR says that more than a dozen trains are running late on Wednesday. Most delays range between 25 and 35 minutes, but a train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle was nearly an hour and a half behind schedule. A morning train from Joensuu to Pieksämäki was replaced by buses between Heinävesi and Pieksämäki because of a freight train breakdown on that track segment. For the latest delays, visit VR's Traffic Info page.

The HSL mass transit system in the capital region has also announced an array of delays and cancellations on Wednesday. About 20 commuter train departures, including some between Helsinki and the airport, have been cancelled. Meanwhile half a dozen bus departures, mostly in Espoo and eastern Helsinki, have been scratched due to blocked roads and other problems. Details are listed on the HSL site.

Above zero on Sunday?

A major low-pressure area over the Baltic Sea is moving slowly toward the White Sea in north-west Russia.

Compared to the near-constant barrage of snow earlier in the week, Wednesday brings brighter conditions with diminishing precipitation in all areas. There is now at least 25 cm of snow on the ground throughout mainland Finland, with 50 to 60 cm in broad swaths of the south, east and north – the deepest being in the far east.

Temperatures are set to rise to just under the freezing point in southern parts. In central Finland and most of Lapland the mercury will hover between -5 and -10 degrees. It will however be much colder in the far north-western arm, remaining around -20.

Little precipitation is expected on Thursday, but the snow returns on Friday evening and early Saturday in the south and west, followed by more snow, sleet and rain on Sunday – when temperatures may rise above freezing in southernmost Finland, likely bringing more messy road conditions.

12.06: VR & HSL delay information updated.

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