Autumn storm leaves tens of thousands without electricity
The first major autumn storm, named "Iida", raged in Finland on Wednesday. The storm toppled trees onto power lines across the country.
The gusts of wind developed into a storm off the coast of Helsinki after 8.00 PM Wednesday evening, calming down before midnight. Tens of thousands of households were left without electricity for several hours. In the Kallio district of Helsinki, a man was severely injured when he was hit by a large branch of a linden tree blown down by a gust of wind.
Between Central Helsinki and Pasila, a tree falling on power lines shortly before 9.00 PM. caused the cancellation of six train departures and delayed other trains from Helsinki to the West. Eventually all traffic had to be routed along two tracks.
In the Greater Helsinki area, the strongest gales were recorded shortly after 8.00 PM off the coast of Helsinki, with winds reaching 22 metres per second. In the Gulf of Finland, a top wind speed of 21 metres per second was recorded in several places.
In Southern Finland, the storm began to abate before midnight, as the storm centre was moving towards the East.
In the Karhusuo suburb of Espoo, a birch tree falling on a power cable cut off electricity supplies to some 1,200 consumers in Espoo and Kirkkonummi. It is estimated that over 10,000 households were affected by blackouts in Southern Finland.
The rescue departments of Helsinki, Espoo, and Western Uusimaa were stretched to carry out clear-up work.
Storm-force winds brought down trees on power lines in other parts of Finland. A total of 5,000 households were without electricity in Pori on the south-west coast for an hour before noon. At worst, a total of 3,000 homes suffered from power failures in South-Western Finland.
According to power supplier Fortum, strong winds started knocking out electricity supplies to thousands of their clients on Wednesday afternoon. Around 6,000 of their customers were simultaneously left without electricity in Southern Finland.
At worst, around 25,000 of Fortum's clients were left without electricity for up to six hours on Wednesday. Fortum also reported that some 300 households were still cut off at 11.30 PM. The company has engaged extra staff to repair the power outages.
In western maritime areas the wind was strong already on Wednesday morning, and nearly all express ferry departures from Helsinki to Tallinn were cancelled because of rough seas.
Iida was a result of a powerful low-pressure system moving across Finland. The origin of the system was in Hurricane Maria, which raged in the Atlantic off the eastern coast of the United States last week.
According to Anneli Nordlund of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the autumn storm season begins on August 21st, whereupon low-pressure storms become more common.
The storm brought heavy rains all over Finland, and the precipitation came down as snow on the fells of North-Western Lapland.
Previously in HS International Edition:
First major autumn storm sweeping across Finland today (14.9.2005)
Storms frequent even in Nordic countries, causing extensive damage (31.8.2005)
Storm left thousands of households in Southern Finland without electricity (11.8.2005)