Third storm threatens to sweep through Finland next week
More than 15,000 people were still without electricity on Thursday in aftermath of previous storms; Uurainen bill likely to reach 2 million euros
Very warm air masses spreading into Finland from the east could cause a new storm next week.
According to duty meteorologist Henri Nyman from the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Eastern districts of Finland will be most at risk from thunderstorms.
”Locally lightning may be substantial already at the weekend, but the risk of a heavier storm will grow by Monday”, Nyman predicts.
The risk of thunderstorms is a consequence of the weather conditions that have remained unchanged for a long time. Thunderstoms can form and develop when the warm air from the east and southeast collides with the cooler western air masses.
”According to the forecast, a low-pressure zone will be created in the frontier between the warm and cool air masses at the weekend, concomitant with strengthening winds and possibly dangerous thunderstorms”, Nyman reports.
On average, powerful thunderstorms like the ”Asta” and ”Veera” examples that swept over Finland last Wednesday and a week ago occur in Finland only a few times in a decade.
During Wednesday’s ”Veera” storm, a total of some 23,000 cloud-to-ground lightnings were recorded, which is the largest reading in the current millennium.
”Veera’s” most powerful thunderstorms were developed at midday in Pirkanmaa in the Tampere region, from where they moved across Finland to Northern Russia towards the evening.
Another almost equally severe storm front was created in the early evening in the eastern Gulf of Finland, moving along the southwestern border of the country.
This thunderstorm front was experienced for example by Sini Timonen, who lives in the municipality of Rautjärvi in South Karelia.
While last week’s ”Asta” storm did not much bother her, the ”Veera” storm was life-threatening.
Timonen was just about to finish her orienteering round, when she had to take shelter against pounding hail in a car. Timonen and the organiser of the orienteering event went by car to pick up the last runner still in the forest. When they were driving along a forest road, the storm started to pick up in earnest.
”Then there was a crash. Trees fell on the front and the rear of the car”, Timonen recalls.
The driver was injured when a tree fell down on the roof of the car, and the vehicle was completely stuck on a remote road amidst the fallen trees.
It took about an hour for the Rescue Department to clear its way to the car.
In Rautjärvi’s Simpele cemetery, the storm felled nearly all the trees. ”Oh my God, so much work”, said cemetery worker Kari Pulkkinen with some amazement, when he saw what had happened.
In many homes hit by thunderstoms, the coming weekend is beginning in candlelight. Yesterday - Thursday - more than 15,000 people were still without electricity both in the eastern and central parts of the country as well as in the Häme district.
The train traffic on the Karelian rail line is expected to return to normal during Friday. The Finnish rail operator VR expects traffic on other railway sections to run largely according to schedule.
Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi (Centre) suggested yesterday that people staying at their summer cottages and those living in remote areas should be prepared for new weather phenomena. She also urged people to find out what is the situation of those elderly people who live alone in the areas hit by the storms.
As reported by Helsingin Sanomat yesterday, a campground for caravans in Uurainen in Central Finland was hit by a heavy storm that virtually flattened the place on Wednesday, injuring three residents.
Jouko Nykänen, who is responsible for social welfare and health care in the municipality of Uurainen, estimates that the damages to the caravans alone could amount to approximately EUR 1.5 to 2 million.
The storms early this month and at the end of July follow on from a period of around five weeks of intensely high temperatures and dry weather that has seen records shattered across the country, including the all-time Finnish high, which now stands at 37.2°C.
Finnish holidaymakers have benefited from the extremely warm stable conditions that have sat over Western Russia for a long period, though the Russians themselves have suffered terribly from the heat, with forest fires causing breathing difficulties for many and scores of deaths.
The continuing dry weather has also adversely affected crop yields in Russia.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Freak storm wreaks havoc at campground in Central Finland on Wednesday afternoon; three injured (5.8.2010)
Tens of thousands of households without electricity after new storms (5.8.2010)
Affected areas still struggling in aftermath of last week´s major storm (4.8.2010)
Storm clearance work in Savo facing difficulties (3.8.2010)
Thousands in rural areas of Eastern Finland still without electricity after Friday storm (2.8.2010)
Finnish Meteorological Institute