Morning headlines: Wednesday 2nd January 2019

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Åland paralyzed by severe winter storm

Åland has been hit by a severe winter storm, causing widespread problems throughout the islands. All the main roads are closed, with so many fallen trees that police say nobody should be going out due to the safety risks. Power is out everywhere except Mariehamn, which means thousands of households are affected. Radio broadcasts are off-air as well. Overnight gusts of wind up to 40.2 metres per second were recorded, with waves reaching almost 8 metres out to sea. The wind is expected to increase during Wednesday morning and only slack off later this afternoon.

Winter storm impacts mainland Finland as well

The winter storm is causing problems in mainland Finland as well on Wednesday morning. VR reports that electricity is out on the Seinäjoki to Vaasa route, so all trains are replaced by buses at the moment. Across the rest of the rail network only about 50% of long distance trains are running on time. Strong winds and snow have lead to electricity outages for an estimated 60,000 households but this number is unlikely to be accurate because the energy companies’ system which tracks power cuts is itself offline. And the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI says rad conditions are dangerous especially in Satakunta, Pirkanmaa, central Finland, North Karelia, Kainuu and large parts of Ostrobothnia. In the western archipelago, ferry services have been impacted as well with cancellations on some routes.

Metro delays for capital commuters

The capital region metro service is running on slow this morning. A technical failure means that trains are going at irregular intervals, with up to 10 minutes between trains. HSL says they hope to get the fault fixed this morning, and have services running back at normal intervals this afternoon.

Wednesday morning weather

The forecast for Wednesday morning shows those strong winds around Åland in the Gulf of Bothnia, and widespread snowfall across the south, southwest, eastern border and up into central Finland. In Lapland temperatures are down between -16°C and -19°C.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 2nd January 2018 / Credit: FMI