Heightened risk of avalanches this season in Finnish Lapland

The risk of avalanches is heightened by mild temperatures and strong winds, says the Finnish Meteorological Institute. (Philippe Morin/Radio-Canada)

There is a considerable risk of avalanches on several fells in Finnish Lapland during the ongoing winter holiday period, the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) warned on Thursday.

According to the department’s avalanche forecast, there are dangerous avalanche conditions in the ski resort areas of Ounas-Pallas, Saariselkä, Ylläs-Levi and Luosto-Pyhä.

There is also moderate danger in Kilpisjärvi, in northwesternmost Finnish Lapland, and Ruka in Kuusamo, Northern Ostrobothnia.

A woman and her 12-year-old son died in an avalanche while skiing at Pallastunturi in northwestern Lapland in early January.

The risk of avalanches is heightened by mild temperatures and strong winds, the institute said. Load on the snow — for instance, from a skier — increases the risk of an avalanche, but they can also occur without any human contact.

No more bitter cold this season

Also on Thursday, the FMI predicted milder weather for the rest of this winter.

No more severe cold is foreseeable in the coming weeks, FMI meteorologist Juha Juntunen told the Finnish news agency STT.

For the rest of February, temperatures will fall to a few degrees below zero, but no colder, even in the north, he said.

According to Juntunen, cold nights and mornings can still be expected in March, but by then the sun is strong enough to raise temperatures during the daytime, so the worst of the winter weather should be over.

Most schools in southern Finland are on winter break this week, followed by those in Pirkanmaa and Central Finland next week. Those in the north and east are on vacation beginning 2 March.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Meet Kipper, the newest — and only — avalanche dog in Canada’s North, CBC News

Finland: Body of 12 year-old avalanche victim recovered in Finnish Lapland, Yle News

Sweden: Avalanche warning to snowmobilers in Swedish mountains, Radio Sweden

United States: Worker in Alaska’s Denali National Park dies after triggering avalanche, The Associated Press

Yle News

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