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Sleet and snow forecast for Helsinki today UPDATED

Sleet and snow forecast for Helsinki today <b>UPDATED</b>
Sleet and snow forecast for Helsinki today <b>UPDATED</b>
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If the weather men are to be believed, Helsinki region residents should get an early taste of winter today.
      The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) issued a warning about bad road conditions for the southern part of Finland on Monday. The precipitation was to begin in the course of the morning, after which snow and sleet were predicted to fall down all day long until the evening.
A low pressure and a homogeneous area of precipitation area were to be carried to Finland with brisk winds arriving from the Baltic.
      Anja Häkkinen, the FMI’s meteorologist-on-duty, believed that in the early hours of the morning the rains might still remain over the Gulf of Finland. However, it could have rained in Helsinki already as early as at eight or nine o’clock.
      The temperature in the capital is likely to be a couple of plus degrees Celsius.
      ”Some wet snow could fall in Helsinki, but it is difficult to tell how much of the snow will remain on the ground”, Häkkinen predicted.
      According to Häkkinen, the ground could turn white even in the coastal area. The amount of precipitation is not expected to be large in the Helsinki region, while in Southeastern Finland, the thickness of the snow cover could be more than five centimetres. In Lappeenranta, the precipitation is predicted to begin in the afternoon.
The autumn’s first snow is expected to fall one month earlier than normal in Southern Finland, even though it is not certain that it will arrive today.
      The first snow is in question if the snow layer is at least one centimetre thick when measured in the morning.
      Police are advising people to pay attention to weather forecasts and motorists to exercise caution while driving. It is important to make sure that there is enough time set aside for the journey to work.
      ”If the roads are slippery, the summer tyres should be replaced by friction tyres or studded tyres”, said on-duty inspector Mika Helminen on Sunday evening.
      ”I changed my summer tyres to studs on Friday”, Helminen added.
UPDATE, 17:30
The promised snow in southern and south-eastern districts of Finland did not really materialise, and all that was received during the day were a few sleet showers.
      However, the Finnish Meteorological Institute are warning that driving conditions on minor roads could get nasty, with zero conditions or a slight frost expected overnight in the south and south-east.
      Wet roads could then freeze, and things may be quite slippy early tomorrow morning.
An area of precipitation is set to spread through the evening and night across to Eastern Finland, while southern districts will clear.
      The FMI admits, however, that the presence of a mass of dry air over Finland makes rainfall prediction difficult.
      The precipitation has been visible on radar images all day, but much of it has stayed up there and not come down to the ground. The heaviest rains would appear to have fallen east of Finland, with St. Petersburg getting a good downpour on Monday.
The FMI's earlier forecast had been for as much as several centimetres of snow in the south of Finland.
      Having the first snowfalls in October is early for this neck of the woods.
      Last winter the first real fall of snow in the Greater Helsinki area, demanding the deployment of the snowploughs, did not come unti the last week in November, but on that occasion the capital got a dump of around a foot of the white stuff.
In recent days the temperatures in Finland have been below the seasonal average.
      For example, in Lapland the nighttime temperatures have gone down as low as nearly -20°C, something that is more commonly associated with December than mid-October.
Winter speed limits come into effect in Lapland and the Oulu region this week, and across the rest of the country next week.

Previously in HS International Edition:
  Gale-force winds to continue in Finland on Monday (5.10.2009)
  Eastern Lapland receives autumn´s first snowfall (29.9.2009)

  Finnish Meteorological Institute
  Finnish Road Administration

Helsingin Sanomat

  12.10.2009 - TODAY
 Sleet and snow forecast for Helsinki today UPDATED

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