July snow in Finnish Lapland

Kuonjarjoki canyon in North-Western Lapland on July 14, 2013.  (Tapani Leisti / Yle)
Kuonjarjoki canyon in North-Western Lapland on July 14, 2013. (Tapani Leisti / Yle)

Snow fell in North-Eastern Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region, on Sunday, covering many of the fells. Snowfall and subzero night temperatures in fact occur most summers on Finland’s highest fells.

On Sunday 14 July, hikers staying overnight at the Kuonjarjoki cottage woke up to a chilling surprise. A strong north-westerly wind blew giant wet snowflakes in their faces, and the days’ hiking routes had to be re-adjusted.

According to Antti Ohenoja, who works for Metsähallitus managing state land and waters, July snow is not something extraordinary in these parts of the country.

“This is a phenomenon we get every summer. Sometimes snow covers the land even in summertime”, Ohenoja says.

He adds that usually summer hikers come well prepared for cold weather. A woolly hat, gloves, as well as water- and wind-proof clothes are necessary items for those planning to hike on the high fells of North-Western Lapland.

High altitude chill factor

Meteorologist Pauliina Kuokka from the Finnish Meteorological Institute explains that the altitude of the high fells goes some way to explain summer snow.

“Sometimes it snows on the fells in summer, because the temperature is lower on the peaks than in the valleys below.”

Water turns to sleet when the temperature nears zero. Sunday’s snow at Kuonjarjoki canyon and the region’s fells was heavy and wet.

On nearby Tuolljehuhput fell, there was hardly a trace left of the morning’s snow, after the sun broke through the clouds in the afternoon.

Yle News

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