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Deep winter conditions grip Helsinki and the entire south of Finland

Train traffic disrupted by severe frosts and whirling snow; new winter low set in Kuusamo at

Deep winter conditions grip Helsinki and the entire south of Finland
Deep winter conditions grip Helsinki and the entire south of Finland
Deep winter conditions grip Helsinki and the entire south of Finland
Deep winter conditions grip Helsinki and the entire south of Finland
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Heavy snowfalls disrupted traffic in the Greater Helsinki area and across Southern Finland on Thursday. Dozens of fender benders and vehicles driving off the road were recorded on snowy and slippery roads, but all serious accidents and bodily injuries were avoided.
Train traffic suffered from the frosty and snowy conditions to some degree. According to the Finnish rail operator VR, occasional delays were reported primarily in the long-distance services between Oulu and Helsinki. In fact, delays of 5 to 45 minutes were recorded on Thursday.
      The smoothness of the commuter traffic in the Greater Helsinki area was partly attributable to the fact that some local trains had already been cancelled because of the snowfalls and as a result of Monday’s runaway coach crash at Helsinki’s Central Railway Station. For example all A- and M-train departures had been cancelled.
      Being in charge of the rail network, the Finnish Transport Agency (which started operating on January 1st 2010) and VR had anticipated the snowfall in Southern Finland, stepping up maintenance and increasing the number of employees cleaning rail switches.
Helsinki’s trams were running late all day, while some of the tramcars were operating on exceptional routes.
      Problems occurred particularly on those track sections which run on roadways together with other vehicles. When points on the tramways become snow packed and frozen, automatic heating is not strong enough to free them from snow and ice.
Bus services in the Greater Helsinki area operated fairly well, while only some of the vehicles remained out of service because of the severe weather conditions.
Air services were only slightly disrupted on Thursday.
      Blizzards and the poor weather across all Europe no longer caused more than minor delays at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.
      At times, the blizzards across the south of the country were very heavy, while the road conditions were further deteriorated by whirling snow and sharp winds.
      Moreover, the winds were strong even at sea. In the southwesterly sea areas wind speeds of as high as 14 to 17 metres per second were recorded.
However, the snowfall will gradually lose steam, moving across the eastern border, predicted the meteorologist on duty at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
      For Friday, the FMI anticipates dry weather and more sharp frosts.
Cancellations in the Greater Helsinki area train services have continued on Friday.
      All services of E-trains (Helsinki-Kauklahti), G-trains (Helsinki-Saunakallio), and I-trains (Helsinki-Tikkurila) were cancelled on Friday morning.
      K-trains between Kerava and Helsinki will operate as N-trains, running six times an hour during rush ours and stopping at all stations.
      Outside the rush hours, the frequency is three times an hour.
      Even A- and M-trains will run at fewer frequencies, namely three times an hour.
VR estimates that train services will not be operating on their normal schedules until Monday, as due to the crash in Helsinki last Monday, two tracks at the central rail terminus will remain out of use until next week.
In Kuusamo in the north-east of Finland, the temperature reached a record low for this winter on Friday morning.
      According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the temperature at the Kuusamo Airport dropped down to -37.1°C early on Friday morning. The record was registered at 7.40 a.m.
      The previous record low of -36.7°C was measured at the Kevo research station in Utsjoki on Thursday morning.

Previously in HS International Edition:
  Coaches crash into hotel at Helsinki´s Central Railway Station (4.1.2010)
  Major disaster averted in Helsinki rail crash thanks to quick action by traffic controller (7.1.2010)
  Slow clearance after heavy snowfalls over the holidays leads to blocked streets in Helsinki (5.1.2010)

  Finnish Meteorological Institute
  Finnish Road Administration travel and traffic information
  Finnish Rail Administration press release 15.12.2009

Helsingin Sanomat

  8.1.2010 - TODAY
 Deep winter conditions grip Helsinki and the entire south of Finland

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