Rain brings flooding to lakes and rivers in south of Finland
The south and southwest of Finland look more like spring than winter at the moment, with rising rivers flooding fields, something that is more familiar from March or April when the past winter’s snow melts.
The situation is attributable to rain. Lots of it, and regularly, as anyone living here will testify.
On the south coast, the total rainfall in December so far has been up to 80 millimetres in places - more than in 50 years. Late November was also not exactly short on precipitation, either.
The consequences are most evident in small rivers, where water levels tend to fluctuate fairly heavily according to precipitation, says Bertel Vehviläinen, the main hydrologist at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).
Flooding has been seen in a number of small rivers in the south of the country.
The continued rain has raised water levels in lakes as well - in some cases to as much as 30 centimetres above the normal level for this time of year.
Water levels are likely to rise further, as temperatures in coastal areas are expected to remain above freezing in the coming days, as the full Finnish winter obstinately refuses to kick in.
“Low pressure areas are coming over almost every day. Even a small change in direction affects the weather outlook in Finland. For that reason, forecasts for the coming three or four days can vary considerably”, says Marjo Hoikkanen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
Hoikkanen says that precipitation in the coming days will be in the form of rain or sleet, which means that the snow cover in those parts of Finland where there is any snow is decreasing.
No snow is expected for coastal areas of the south and southwest of Finland.
“Early next week it is likely to cool down somewhat. At that time there can be freezing temperatures in the south of Finland as well”, Hoikkanen says.
Just before Christmas, temperatures should rise again, painting the prospect of a "black Christmas", at least for southerners.
However, Hoikkanen points out that there is great uncertainty in forecasts so far into the future.
Levi World Cup slalom races cancelled owing to warm weather and lack of snow (3.11.2011)
Finnish Meteorological Institute