Ice roads in Noarootsi and Vormsi unlikely despite the frost

Studies conducted on Thursday show that regardless of the frost and cold in Estonia recently, the conditions for the creation of ice roads in Noarootsi and Vormsi are not sufficient. The Transport Administration plans to conduct one more survey in ten days, but the hope for ice roads is beginning to melt away for the year.

Ice researchers were met with a bad surprise on Thursday morning when studying the Haapsalu Bay. The thick blanket of snow and warm sea water have not allowed for ice to grow in the past few weeks. Low sea levels have now risen again, leading to the water pushing through the ice and dry passage is not possible in some areas despite the cold temperatures.

The ice on Haapsalu Bay is just too thin. "We were hoping for a remarkably better situation, as the last two weeks have been cold. We thought there would be at least 5-6 cm of ice added since the last survey. Unfortunately, we must admit that centimeters have gone thinner in two measuring points and no ice has developed in others. The thinnest we found was 16 cm," said Transport Administration Western road maintenance department head Hannes Vaidla.

For a 2.5 ton vehicle, the ice road must be uncracked and the thickness cannot be lower than 24 cm. For roads with cracks however, the thickness must reach at least 27 cm.

During Thursday's studies, researchers looked at the conditions between mainland Estonia and Vormsi island. The thinnest ice there was measured at 11 cm. Vaidla said the conditions are not sufficient near Kihnu as well, in addition to there not being enough ice for travel to Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.

There have not even been conditions to study the ice between the mainland and Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, as a matter of fact. Vaidla said there is still unthawed sea water between Hiiumaa and the mainland. The clock is ticking however and it will become clear before Estonia's Independence Day (February 24), if there will be any ice roads this season.

"The March sun however is a bad partner for ice. The sun quickly takes away the places where the ice can be embarked. While air temperatures can remain below zero, March is the end for any ice," Vaidla said.

Friday forecast estimates the great cold withdraws some

There will be no snow on Friday night, but cloud coverage can vary. Northerly winds blow at 1-6 m/s inland and 3-9 m/s on the coasts and islands. Temperatures will vary from -8 C on the islands to -20 C inland, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Thursday.

Friday noon will remain clear and without snowfall, but clouds will tighten up in the afternoon and there will be snow in places. Northerly winds will continue throughout the day, temperatures will fall to -13 C at the most inland, it will be warmer on the western coast.

There will be no major changes when it comes to temperatures in the coming days and cloud coverage will continue as intermittent. The weekend will bring light snowfall, with eastern Estonia set to receive a lot on Sunday evening.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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