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Event Details

Heatwave event report

Category: Heatwave
Observation: 04.03.2008
Continent: Europe
Country: Finland
State:
Area: Southern area
Location:
Severity: Moderate
Event details
Southern Finland had only 20 days of snow, compared to 70 days normally, while neighboring Estonia had to cancel a popular cross-country ski marathon in the southern city of Tartu in early February. "I don't remember winter like this. We had almost no snow at all in February," said Merike Merilain, chief weather forecaster at Estonia's meteorological institute, EMHI. "It's been emotionally very stressful, especially to many older people, that it's dark and rainy all the time," she added. The Finnish Meteorological Institute said the mild winter partly resulted from strong southerly and westerly air currents caused by exceptionally warm surface temperatures of the Atlantic. Nevertheless, the higher temperatures have only fueled concern that greenhouse gasses are changing the climate, especially in the sensitive Arctic region. "When we were young, back in the '80s, then winter existed," said Ronny Ahlstedt, 28, who works at an outdoor ice-skating rink in downtown Stockholm. "We are contributing to this warm weather by letting out all this pollution in the air." In areas normally covered in snow and ice, spring-like temperatures have brought premature sightings of flowers such as winter aconite, snowdrops, wood anemone, daffodils and coltsfoot. Finland's coasts are clear of ice up to 350 miles north of Helsinki, said Jouni Vainio from the Finnish Institute of Marine Research. "It's most unusual because now the whole sea should be frozen along the Finnish coast." Railway traffic is also being helped by the warmth. More than 90 percent of all trains this winter have been on time or less than five minutes late, according to the Finnish state railway, VR. "Hard frosts and heavy blizzards have always been a bane of rail traffic. This winter has been punctuated by their absence," VR spokesman Herbert Mannerstrom said.
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