Heavy overnight snowfall brings weather warning, hazardous roads

Snowy road conditions in Estonia on the morning of January 3, 2023.
Snowy road conditions in Estonia on the morning of January 3, 2023. Source: tarktee.ee

Tuesday morning has brought a nationwide Level One ("Yellow") weather warning from the state weather service, while the Transport Administration (Transpordiamet) advises drivers to avoid driving where possible, as substantial overnight snowfall rendered roads hazardous.

The weather will continue to be snowy and windy at times, through the week, and will get considerably colder coming into the weekend.

Roads in central, northern and eastern Estonia are particularly affected, as a band of snowfall stretched across the country overnight, from central Estonia to the North.

Visibility is limited and traffic conditions are poor, and minor roads in particular will be difficult to drive on and even impassable in some cases.

On the main roads, driving speeds are and must be slower than usual due to the difficult conditions, and longer journey times must be factored in.

South Estonia, too, has blizzard conditions and snowy and sometimes icy road surfaces, while in the southwest and west, wind speeds will reach gusts up to 23 m/s on the coasts, while falling branches will have provided an extra hazard.

The culprit of the changed weather conditions, just as virtually all the snow had melted, at least in the capital, is a small but active area of low pressure moving across the country in an easterly direction, on Tuesday.

This will be replaced by cold air and more snow and blizzard conditions when high winds return.

A Level One weather warning states that: "The weather is potentially dangerous," and urges the public to: "Be attentive if you intend to practice activities exposed to meteorological risks. Keep informed about the forecast of meteorological conditions," the state weather service says on its website."

The Transport Board recommends avoiding non-essential journeys on the roads, as the snow is not expected to taper off until afternoon.

If a car journey is absolutely unavoidable, drivers must exercise extreme caution and selcet a speed matching the road conditions. This means a speed considerably below the speed limit.

Overtaking should be avoided and a safe distance maintained from the vehicle above.

Road conditions will remain poor Tuesday, and can be monitored in real time on the Transport Administration's "Tarktee" website here.

Morning's weather is cloudy, with winds coming from the West to Northwest and temperatures ranging from -1C in Ida- and Lääne-Viru counties, to +3C on the islands.

Weather forecast for Tuesday, January 3, 2023. Source: ERR

On Wednesday, snowy conditions continue, though this will fall as sleet on the islands, where temperatures will be above zero. On the mainland, daytime temperatures will be -6 to -1C.

On Thursday, winds are forecast to pick up again, and it will get even colder, as low as -15C overnight Wednesday to Thursday and -11 to -5C on the mainland daytime.

As the weekend arrives, the temperature can drop even more, to as low as -25C overnight Friday to Saturday in eastern Estonia, and Saturday's temperatures are set to be around -15C in the East, much milder (around -5C) in the West.

Precipitation will continue daytime, as snow in the north, and the wind will pick up a little, in gusts up to 17 m/s on the west coast, islands and in the south, dropping again later in the day.

Weather forecast for the week to Saturday, January 7, 2023. Source: ERR


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Ele Pedassaar, Marko Toomin, Mari Peegel

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