Mega-freeze in Finland: Arctic temperatures plunge into the -30s

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) recorded an overnight low of -34.6 degrees Celsius in the Arctic village of Muonio. (Petri Lassheikki / Yle )
Far northern Finland dips to -34.6 Celsius

Residents in many parts of Finland found themselves in a deep freeze Monday night, but it was Muonio, on Finland’s northwestern border that broke the record for the lowest temperature this winter.

According to Yle meteorologist Matti Huutonen, an overnight low of -34.6 degrees Celsius was recorded at a measuring station of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) in the town that lies above the Arctic Circle.

Many other towns registered their own local records on Monday night. For example the mercury plunged to -29.7 degrees in Ylivieska, while it settled at -22 degrees in Jyväskylä.

The previous record low for the current winter was -33.5 degrees, recorded on 7 December in Inari.

Rapid thaw follows icy lows

Meanwhile, meteorologists are predicting a rapid thaw as temperatures warm up after Monday night’s chill.

The forecast also includes snow flurries, which could add to the woes of power companies dealing with down power lines. At the same time, rain will contribute to poor driving conditions and generally slippery conditions.

According to Yle meteorologist Joonas Koskela, the fluctuating temperatures could see rise by as much as 25 degrees this week alone. He said that some areas should also brace for more than 10 centimetres of fresh snowfall, with rain expected in the south.

Koskela said that the current frigid conditions are due to systems coming from the east, while the thaw will be caused by milder winds moving in from the west.

“Between Pello and Rovaniemi’s Yli-Tornio the temperature was -30 degrees Monday night, and during the day on Thursday it is expected to rise to -5 degrees. In the Jyväskylä area it is now -23 degrees and on Thursday the forecast is two degrees above zero. This represents a 25-degtree warming,” Koskela noted.

Precipitation will arrive in Finland in two distinct waves on Wednesday, first as snow in zone stretching from the southeast all the way to northern Ostrobothnia, where more than 10 centimetres of snow is possible.

This will be followed by another zone of precipitation on Thursday night as a front moves across the east. In the south, the precipitation will be mostly liquid, while it will take the shape of snow or sleet further north.

Warnings for slippery roads, frozen pipes

Meanwhile FMI has issued a warning about the potential fallout from the major thaw. That means slippery conditions for pedestrians as water settles on the surface of ice.

The same applies to motorists who will likely have to contend with slippery roads. There are warnings for poor road conditions throughout the country on Wednesday. Seafarers are being advised to exercise caution as high winds will cause rough seas in the west.

The rapid thaw could also affect plumbing as a quick temperature increase causes ice to expand and potentially rupture pipes. People are being advised to run water through their pipes to prevent them from freezing.

Related stories from around the North:

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