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Watch: Drought ends with a bang with lightning, floods and hail

There was a dramatic shift in the weather through much of the country on Thursday, with flooding and power blackouts.

Thursday brought this year’s biggest onslaught of thunderstorms in Finland. More than 20,000 lightning bolts struck parts of the country, says Yle meteorologist Anne Borgström.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) also recorded the year’s highest volumes of hail on Thursday.

Thursday blew away this summer’s previous lightning record, a mere 7,700 bolts that hit on 18 June.

Lightning was observed through nearly all of Finland except coastal areas on Thursday. It was accompanied by heavy rains in many places – although elsewhere it struck without any precipitation.

Streets awash in Hämeenlinna

In Lapua, Southern Ostrobothnia, a cloudburst gushed water into an industrial hall and other structures. Thunderstorms also brought hail to Ostrobothnia, with some hailstones measuring several centimetres across.

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Flooded streets in Hämeenlinna Image: Ville Välimäki / Yle

In the south-central city of Hämeenlinna, a heavy downpour flooded downtown streets. There was also intense rain and lightning in Riihimäki and Janakkala, felling trees and knocking out electricity.

However it was far from the all-time record of 40,000 lightning bolts seen on 29 June 1988.

Thunderstorms hit south-west

Borgström predicts more electrical storms over the weekend, including along the coast, although they will diminish in intensity.

“On Friday we’ll get lightning in southern and central areas, mostly towards the east. On Saturday there will only be thunder in central and south-western parts, on Sunday only in the south-west,” Borgström says.

The FMI has issued many warnings for Friday including high forest fire risk, severe heat, thunderstorms and heavy rain as well as thundersqualls on Lake Saimaa and the Bay of Bothnia.

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