Finns will travel far and wide over the holiday break in the midst of unsettled weather conditions.
Motorists will face the worst driving conditions the morning of Wednesday, the day before Christmas Eve, but meteorologists say the good news is there’s still hope the heart of the country will enjoy a white Christmas.
Holiday traffic picked up as early as Tuesday December 22 in Finland. Unseasonably warm winter temperatures made road conditions reasonably safe in the south, even if scattered sprinkles during the day made some surfaces slippery.
On December 23, motorways are expected to be most congested between 11 am and 5 pm.
“The weather won’t be too bad on Wednesday. A new front of rain clouds will move in from the west Tuesday night, however, so it could complicate the traffic situation,” says Yle meteorologist Toni Hellinen.
The precipitation will fall as rain in the south, but will turn into sleet and snow as the crow flies north and temperatures grow colder. The worst weather is expected Wednesday morning, but conditions should be dry again by the evening.
“There might be isolated pockets of snowfall in the north, but otherwise evening driving conditions should be pretty good,” says Hellinen.
Dreaming of a white Christmas
Hellinen says a few centimetres of snow are forecast for the central regions of Southern Savo, Central Finland, Northern Savo, North Karelia, Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu, starting overnight.
According to the current forecast, there is a chance this thin white coating will stay put until Christmas.
“All hope of a white Christmas in the south is gone,” Hellinen confirmed.
The extended weather forecast predicts clear and sunny skies on Christmas Eve in the south, with above-zero temperatures. Christmas Day will be overcast and windy. By Boxing Day, temperatures will get colder, and temperatures across the entire country will be below freezing.
Related stories from around the North:
Finland: Finland storm knocks out mobile networks, Yle News
Greenland: Changing Sea Ice: The Ripple Effect (VIDEO), Eye on the Arctic
Norway: 2014 warmest year in history for Norway, Barents Observer
Sweden: Storm Helga weather warning for Sweden, Radio Sweden