Saturday Evening Storm Rips Through South, East

Summer storm and lightning strikes across southern Finland / Credit: Google Maps

An intense storm front ripped through southern and eastern Finland on Saturday evening, causing travel disruptions, power outages, and delays to performances at Helsinki’s Flow Festival. Strong winds gusting up to 30 metres per second, dozens of lightning strikes, and heavy rain prompted the Finnish Meteorological Institute to issue a severe weather warning as summer storm ‘Kiira’ approached.

Trains, Planes Affected

The Finnish Transport Agency says all trains between Lahti and Helsinki are running via Riihimäki as a result of storm damage to the rail network. Passengers from Haarajoki and Mäntsälä are being taken by replacement bus service.

According to the transport agency, problems with the track equipment were caused by the storm, and there’s no estimate yet on how long the repairs will take.

There were also some delays reported on the Ring Line railway which connects the Central Railway Station to the airport in a loop.

Meanwhile, Finnavia warned passengers of potential flight disruptions for arriving and departing flights at Helsinki Airport, ahead of Saturday evening’s storm.

Power Cuts

More than 32,000 people in southern Finland people were left without power as summer storm Kiira tracked across the region.

The majority of power outages were in Espoo, where 12,000 people are without electricity.

Caruna, the electricity grid operator, says that customers will get their power back, but due to the danger posed by the storms, repair crews aren’t able to work on the network until the weather situation improves.

Flow Interrupted

Some 25,000 people attending Helsinki’s popular Flow Festival were also caught in the storm on Saturday night.

Organizer temporarily suspended performances on some of the stages, and stopped people coming into the venue at Suvilahti power station as the storm hit.

Flow Festival tweeted that several acts had been canceled and the Lapin Kulta Red Arena needed repairs before the programme could continue and audience safety was assured. By 22:00 on Saturday evening, Flow tweeted that the Black Tent and Red Tent venues were still undergoing safety inspections, but they hoped to open both soon and re-start the music.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute tracked the storm across the Helsinki Metropolitan area, continuing east to the South Savo and Karelia regions. While winds weakened, the threat of lightning strikes continues, with the heavest expected around Lappeenranta and Mikkeli.