Press release archive: 2002

Weather in Finland in 2001

22.3.2002 12:00

Storms and blizzards towards the end of the year

The foremost weather-related events of the year 2001 were two storms of extremely rare force in November. On the day of the blizzard of November 1, the storm was preceded by fairly calm weather, during which, on November 30, wet snow came down in parts of Etelä-Pohjanmaa and Keski-Suomi and caused damage to trees. On the name day of 'Pyry' in the Finnish calendar (which also happens to be the Finnish word for 'blizzard' and 'snowstorm'), this was followed by powerful gusty winds in inland parts of the country, which enlarged the disaster area in western parts of the country.

The second extremely powerful storm in November began on Janika's day, November 15, and continued to exert itself on November 16. Then the main forest damage focused itself mainly on the southern part of the country. The northerly winds, which prevailed in the aftermath of the low pressure, were exceptionally gusty. In addition to these, seven days of stormy weather occurred in November over sea areas.

Moreover, snowfalls hit the southern parts of the country in the vicinity of the coast in November. The snowfalls were significant in terms of the amount of snow that came down and their early occurrence. Thus, a lasting snow cover was recorded in the metropolitan area as early as on November 20, which was a month earlier than on average. Early in the year, there were only two days of storms, in February, in the sea areas bordering on Finland until the end of August. The first autumn gale occurred on August 27- 28, mainly affecting the southern sea areas.

Exceptionally abundant rainfall was connected to the storm in question; daily rainfall figures as high as 90 - 120 mm were recorded in the south-western archipelago and along the coast of Varsinais-Suomi. Elsewhere in the country there was relatively little rain in August. There were only 14 storm days during the entire year whereas the statistical average for the period 1990-2001 was 22 storm days per year.

Many hot days

The thermal growing period in the southern and central parts of the country began early already in April, but the end of May was cool and the temperature at night fell below zero. Even in early June there were nights with severe frost in the southern and central parts of the country. However, northern Lapland concurrently enjoyed some hot days.

The highest temperature in the entire country for June (28.6 °C) was measured at Sevettijärvi, at the very top of Finland, as early as on June 10. The days around Midsummer's Day (June 23) were warm throughout the country.

July was a record-hot month. There were between 8 and 16 hot days (when the temperature maximum rises to at least 25 °C); i.e. there were twice or even three times the average number of them in the southern and central parts of the country. The relative humidity was very high at times. Despite the high humidity, there was an above-average number of dry days in July. The thunderstorms midway through the month produced a lot of lightning over a period of one week. The summer's highest temperature, 31.9 °C, was measured on July 18 in Savonlinna, in the south-east of the country.

August was a perfect summer month. The last hot days of the summer were recorded in the eastern part of the country on August 16 and 17. Rainfall in August was scant in most parts of the country. July and August were months of above-average sunny days throughout the country and June was especially sunny in Lapland. The number of lightnings through the summer remained clearly short of the average, but the bulk of violent thunderstorms took place in the third week of July.

In September, too, temperatures very like those of the summer continued for quite some time. It was not until October 18-19 that the weather cooled off and did so quickly throughout the country. That was the time when the thermal growing period also ended in the southern and central parts of the country having lasted for 1 - 3 weeks longer than on average.

January and July were warm

The average temperature for the year was for the country as a whole was only slightly (0.1… 0.7 °C) higher than the average for the reference period of 1971-2000. The average annual temperature in the Åland Islands and in the south-western archipelago was 5.9…7.0 °C and in the interior of the southern part of the country 4.2…5.9 °C.

In the central part of the country the average annual temperature was 2.3…3.5 °C and in the Province of Oulu and in the southern part of the Province of Lapland 0.1…2.5 °C. North of the Salla-Kolari line, the average annual temperature was slightly below zero, between - 0.5 °C and -1.9 °C. January and July were far above average throughout the country.

There were distinct local differences in rainfall in 2001. Least rain was recorded in the eastern parts of northern Finland; there the annual precipitation varied between 400 and 500 mm. Elsewhere in the country precipitation was mostly between 550 and 700 mm and thus close to normal. The highest figures were in excess of 800 mm.

Lapland received relatively the most rain as there the annual precipitation figures were about 1.2 greater than the long-term average. The rainy periods were June-July and September-October, although then, too, there were clear differences between different parts of the country. August was the driest month throughout the country when compared to long-term averages. Precipitation in December was the lowest.

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