Mild, wet winter sets records in Finland

Image: YLE / Mari SiltanenThe end of 2011 was unusually mild in Finland. Winter is particularly late in southern Finland, where the cold has usually set in by the end of November. The Baltic Sea, meanwhile, has not seen such a small amount of ice cover since 1930.

Winter officially begins when the temperature slips below zero degrees Celsius, and stays there. On the coast and in Finland’s archipelagos, that generally happens by the end of December.

Record high temperatures were recorded during December in Åland, Kemiö, Salo and Helsinki. Milder weather has been seen in the South in 2006 and in the North in 2007. In 2008, winter only arrived in coastal regions towards the end of March.

The Baltic Sea is currently exceptionally ice-free. Only parts of the Bay of Bothnia and some sheltered archipelago waters in the Gulf of Bothnia have any ice cover at all. The last winter with such mild maritime conditions was in 1929-30, according to the Meteorological Institute.

Air temperatures in sea areas were up to five degrees warmer than the long-term average in November and December. Precipitation was high during December, with southern Finland and parts of Lapland, in Arctic Finland, experiencing two and a half times more rain, sleet and snowfall than the average.

There was, however, less snow than usual. Southern and western Finland were almost snow-free, when they usually get accumulations of between five and 30 centimetres. The deepest snow was measured at Puolanka in the north-east.

Yle News

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