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Winter storm cuts off power to over 50,000 homes

Gusty winds and precipitation began pounding Finland from the southwest on Wednesday morning.

Lumisadetta Heinolassa.
Snow fell on Wednesday afternoon in Heinola, about 150km north of Helsinki. Image: Hanna Hämäläinen

Heavy, wet snow knocked out electricity to thousands of customers in inland parts of southern and central Finland on Wednesday afternoon.

The Finnish Energy industry group (ET) said that more than 51,000 customers had lost power across south-central and eastern Finland around 6:15pm, as well as a few in Kittilä, Finnish Lapland, and in Sipoo on the south coast. The vast majority of those affected were Elenia customers.

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Vesi lanehti kadulla Mannerheimintiellä Tullinpuomin risteyksestä 18. joulukuuta 2019.
Parts of Mannerheimintie, one of Helsinki's main roads, were flooded on Wednesday morning. Image: Teemu Salonen / Lehtikuva

The storm moved in from the southwest on Wednesday morning, bringing gusty winds and precipitation. Due to mild temperatures, that fell as rain along the coast.

The powerful low pressure system moved eastward across southern and central Finland during the day.

The number of households without electricity was expected to grow by evening, when winds are set to strengthen.

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Lunta sataa Hämeenlinnassa
Snow in Hämeenlinna. Image: Akseli Ahola / Yle

Ship cancellations and delays

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has posted a storm warning for the Gulf of Finland, where winds are expected to blow at 23 metres per second from the afternoon on, posing danger to marine traffic. Very rough waves are also predicted, with significant wave height of more than four metres.

Eckerö Line cancelled at least two ship departures. Viking Line and Tallink Silja said they planned to sail as usual, but warned passengers of possible delays.

Across south-central and eastern Finland, the FMI warns of very poor road conditions due to the snowstorm.

The precipitation and wind are expected to move off toward Russia by Wednesday night.

Video: median oletuskuva, musta laatikko
Näin myrsky kulkee Suomen yli keskiviikkona. Video: Yle

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