Weather to take frosty turn in Finland, temperatures to sink as low as -35°C in Lapland

TEMPERATURES in Finland will drop significantly today and tomorrow, reports YLE.

Matti Huutonen, a meteorologist at the public broadcasting company, said yesterday a low-pressure front is slowly clearing the country, giving way to a current of very cold air from the north-east that will drag down the mercury first in northern parts and later in southern parts of Finland.

The mercury is projected to dip below the freezing point in all parts of the country no later than in the small hours of Boxing Day. Temperatures in Lapland, however, are forecast to drop to -15–20°C already today, while those in southern parts are to hover around 0°C.

“Boxing Day will be by far the coldest day of the Christmas holidays. Temperatures will vary between -25°C and -35°C in Lapland,” stated Huutonen.

It is likely that the mercury will drop low enough to break the low-temperature record of the winter, -30.9°C, recorded in Utsjoki, Lapland, on 17 December.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute has issued a cold-weather warning to northern parts of Lapland for Boxing Day. Temperatures in central parts of the country are forecast to vary mostly between -5°C and -10°C, while those in the south will fall slightly below the freezing point, to around -1–5°C.

“In Lapland, the weather will also clear up in conjunction with colder temperatures. The weather in the south will remain overcast, though,” said Huutonen.

The extreme cold will not last for long, however. YLE on Thursday wrote that temperatures are forecast to rebound for the weekdays leading up to New Year’s Eve. Next week is set to start with the mercury hovering between -5°C and -10°C also in northern parts of Finland.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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Centre’s district organisation in Finnish Lapland calls for resignation of Kiuru

THE DISTRICT ORGANISATION of the Centre in Finnish Lapland has issued a statement calling for the resignation of Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (SDP).

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the statement claims, has put the domestic travel industry between a rock and a hard place by insisting on restrictions so strict that local tourism operators are facing revenue losses of hundreds of millions of euros.

Another reason for the radical demand is Länsi-Pohja Central Hospital in Kemi, Western Lapland. The hospital continues to wait for a decision on the extension of its special permit for birthing operations, which is set to expire at the end of 2020.

“We think Kiuru’s actions in this regard are peculiar,” the district organisation said in the statement issued on Sunday.

Kiuru declined to comment on the demand when reached yesterday by Helsingin Sanomat. Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko, the chairperson of the Centre, tweeted that she does not subscribe to the demand made by the district organisation, estimating that the resignation would do little to facilitate an agreement on border issues.

“Lapland lives from tourism,” she acknowledged. “The coronavirus is limiting these business activities severely. The government has to do whatever it can. The border issues must be solved, with health the priority, while using common sense.”

Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre) viewed that the district organisation is venting its frustration with what remains an “extremely difficult situation” in Lapland.

“The way to take care of these kinds of things as a district organisation is not to start demanding that certain ministers step down. These problems must be solved collaboratively within the government,” he stressed.

Markus Lohi (Centre), a third-term Member of the Finnish Parliament from Rovaniemi, said the demand is a “very radical measure” but also a “big cry for help” for the tourism industry in Lapland.

“The situation here is very dramatic. I want to underline that the Centre as a whole is not demanding that anyone resign,” he commented to Helsingin Sanomat.

Members of the Finnish Parliament, including those from the district organisation, expressed their confidence in Kiuru in October, reminded Antti Lindtman, the chairperson of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group. Kiuru and the government, he added, also deserve praise for the fact that the epidemiological situation in Finland is the best in the European Union.

“What’s going on inside the Centre? Has the Lapland district moved to the opposition?” he asked.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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Government looking to support tourism industry in Lapland, says Marin

PRIME MINISTER Sanna Marin (SDP) on Thursday assured that the government recognises the precarious situation of the tourism and accommodation industry in Finnish Lapland.

“The Christmas season is a big question mark [for the industry] and we’re looking for answers to that,” she said at the House of the Estates in Helsinki on Thursday. “We already have a vision for how we could support tourism without compromising safety.”

The Finnish government is scheduled to hold a meeting on issues related to cross-border travel next week.

Marin on Thursday reminded that the Ministry of Transport and Communications has already begun drafting a bill that would oblige transport service providers to verify that passengers have tested negative for the new coronavirus before departing for Finland. This, she said, would not only make it easier to manage risks but also make it possible to enter the country without a quarantine.

Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre) has demanded that the government re-examines its criteria for designating a country as safe in order to draw tourists from a larger group of countries. He has also floated the idea of creating a “bubble” or “corridor” for tourists to reduce their contacts during visits to Lapland.

Minister of Finance Matti Vanhanen (Centre) has similarly urged the government to make a decision on the corridor model.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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