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Thursday snowstorm to snarl traffic in the south

Yle meteorologist Matti Huutonen says southern parts of Finland can expect up to 20 centimetres of snow on Thursday, February 1.

Kolaroituja autoja nostetaan hinausauton kyytiin lumisateessa moottoritiellä.
Image: Markku Ojala / AOP

Friday's union protest against government changes to the unemployment benefit in the Helsinki city centre will shut down public transport and many services for the day. The latest weather forecast indicates that Mother Nature will also contribute to the unrest by bringing a new front of wet heavy snow to the southern coast already on Thursday.

Yle meteorologist Matti Huutonen predicts that a low pressure front will move in over the southern half of the country from the west early Thursday morning, promising 20 centimetres of new snow for the southernmost parts of Finland. A strong easterly wind is also expected to cause the snow to accumulate in places, possibly affecting road and railway traffic, for example.

"The front will arrive from Sweden the night before Thursday and reach the southern coast by the morning. It will move slowly over the area during the day towards the east. On Friday, eastern parts of the country will receive more snow," Huutonen says.

Even though most of the snow is forecast to fall from the heavens already Thursday, it is likely to still be around on Friday, adding its own flavour to the mass demonstrations scheduled in the capital city's Senate Square.

Moving east on Friday

The Finnish Transport Agency says its ploughing fleet will be almost fully deployed to deal with the new snow. There is a chance of a problem, however, as the agency says that most of its snow equipment is owned by the Finnish Construction Trade Union, which is one of the organizations that is planning to strike on Friday. The agency says that the union has agreed to carry out the street cleaning normally, however, and the rest of the equipment is owned and operated by independent contractors, who are not participating in Friday's industrial action.

Large amounts of snow are expected south of Vaasa. Below-zero temperatures will feel even colder thanks to strong easterly winds.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute has issued a warning for hazardous driving conditions on Thursday in southern parts of the country and Friday in the east. Weather conditions over western sea areas on Thursday will reach storm-like proportions, with high waves and rolling seas.

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