Finland’s drought ends with violent storms

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Flooded streets in Hämeenlinna, south-central Finland. (Ville Välimäki/Yle)
Thursday brought this year’s biggest onslaught of thunderstorms in Finland. More than 20,000 lightning bolts struck parts of the country, says Yle meteorologist Anne Borgström.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) also recorded the year’s highest volumes of hail on Thursday.

Thursday blew away this summer’s previous lightning record, a mere 7,700 bolts that hit on 18 June.

Lightning was observed through nearly all of Finland except coastal areas on Thursday. It was accompanied by heavy rains in many places – although elsewhere it struck without any precipitation.

Streets awash in south-central Finland

In Lapua, Southern Ostrobothnia (west-central Finland), a cloudburst gushed water into an industrial hall and other structures. Thunderstorms also brought hail to Ostrobothnia (west), with some hailstones measuring several centimetres across.

In the south-central city of Hämeenlinna, a heavy downpour flooded downtown streets. There was also intense rain and lightning in Riihimäki and Janakkala, felling trees and knocking out electricity.

Watch footage of flooded streets in Hämeenlinna:

However it was far from the all-time record of 40,000 lightning bolts seen on 29 June 1988.

Thunderstorms hit south-west

Borgström predicts more electrical storms over the weekend, including along the coast, although they will diminish in intensity.

“On Friday we’ll get lightning in southern and central areas, mostly towards the east. On Saturday there will only be thunder in central and south-western parts, on Sunday only in the south-west,” Borgström says.

The FMI has issued many warnings for Friday including high forest fire risk, severe heat, thunderstorms and heavy rain as well as thundersqualls on Lake Saimaa (southeast) and the Bay of Bothnia (northwest).

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Warming Arctic could be at heart of deadly July heatwave, CBC News

Finland: As Finland’s temperatures rise, so does the threat of toxic algae, Yle News

Norway: Arctic Europe’s July records melted under extreme temperatures, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Record heatwave in the Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Wildfire situation improves after rain in central Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: Anchorage, Alaska battered by strong winds, Alaska Public Media

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