Powerful storm hits train services and cuts off electricity around Finland
An exceptionally powerful storm swept across southern and western Finland on Friday evening disrupting train transport and cutting off electricity supplies to customers. Tens of thousands of households were without electricity in the province of Häme and also in Lapland, when power lines were cut by falling trees.
The railway lines between Jyväskylä and Tampere as well as the lines between Tampere and Turku were cut off shortly after seven o'clock on Friday evening, and passengers were taken by bus to their destinations.
The storm hit train services even in the Greater Helsinki area. A tree falling on power lines interrupted train services from Helsinki to the east as well as to the north for almost an hour around half past six on Friday evening.
Trains on the coastal track between Helsinki and Turku were also delayed when power lines were hit by falling trees, and all traffic had to be directed along one track only.
High gusting winds hampered even air traffic, causing delays in domestic services from five to six o'clock on Friday evening.
The storm front came from the southwest and swept across Finland causing major disruption to electricity supplies. In the south, the largest power cuts occurred in the regions of Loppi, Karjalohja and Vihti, while in Karkkila, most residents were without water until the next day following a power cut in the local water supply system.
In Espoo, dozens of trees fell and the winds tore down a 1,000-square metre sponsor's tent at the IPC Athletics European Championships. At around six on Friday evening the storm cut off electricity supplies to almost 5,000 households in Espoo for twenty minutes.
On Saturday evening, several hundreds of households were still without electricity, mainly in the province of Häme.
Friday's storm revealed further that many customers had no idea how to reach their electricity supplier outside office hours. All that the national phone number inquiry service could offer was to give the suppliers' emergency service phone numbers. However, customers' phone calls were either not answered at all or the call was picked up by an answering machine.
Jörgen Dahlqvist of Fortum, a leading energy company in the Nordic countries, acknowledges the problem and provides assurances that Fortum plans to launch a national emergency service number.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Storm left thousands of households in Southern Finland without electricity (11.8.2005)
Storm fells trees and interrupts electricity supply in Southern Finland (10.8.2005)
Finnish Meteorological Institute