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Snowfall disrupts traffic in the Finnish capital Helsinki

Helsinki, April 24 (IANS): Freezing temperatures and heavy snow hit the Finnish capital Helsinki, disrupting commuter traffic, tram traffic and flight schedules.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute reported that 10 to 20 cm of snow fell in the southern and southwestern parts of the country between Monday morning and Tuesday morning.

Matti Huutonen, a meteorologist at the Finnish national broadcaster Yle, noted that temperatures in southern Finland have dropped to freezing, which is in stark contrast to the typical spring temperature of around 10 degrees Celsius or higher.

The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) announced the complete closure of the city’s tram network due to freezing rain and snow accumulation, which froze overhead power lines and blocked points along several network locations, Xinhua news agency reported.

As a result, many HSL bus services experienced delays or cancellations and some commuter trains operated on a reduced schedule. The Finnish Meteorological Institute described conditions as “very bad”.

Highlighting the unprecedented nature of the situation, HSL media spokesperson Johannes Laitila noted that freezing rain had blocked overhead power lines, compounding the challenges of heavy snowfall.

Meanwhile, Finnish airport operator Finavia reported flight delays and cancellations due to the adverse weather conditions.

In addition to Helsinki, other cities in southern Finland, including Turku, experienced disruptions to bus services on Tuesday morning due to a snowstorm. Some buses veered off the road and into ditches, Yle reported.

Despite the disruptions, tram services in the Capital Region were gradually resumed on Tuesday afternoon, according to the latest information from the HSL.