Saturday brings return to snowy, wintry conditions
While Friday was clear, if cold, in Estonia, Saturday brings more cloud, with snow forecast again. Conditions should start to become a little more spring-like next week.
A high pressure area over Estonia which was responsible for the clear skies towards the end of the working week has shifted to the northeast, while a low pressure area has started expanding northward across the Baltic States.
Overnight Friday to Saturday, cloud cover thickened and there were patches of snow, driven by easterly winds. Temperatures overnight dropped to as low as -20C in the southeast, and mostly -15 to -8C on the mainland; as mild as -2C on the islands.
The cloud cover remains into Saturday morning, and moderate easterlies of 4-10 m/s in gusts up to 14 m/s will again scatter snow in parts of the southeast and on Saaremaa.
The temperature gradient runs from -12 to -8C in the northeast, to -7 to -6C in the west and south, and -6 to -3C on the islands in the morning.
The main difference the day will bring to the weather is not in temperatures, slightly milder at -6 to -3C nationwide, or in wind speeds, largely unchanged, but rather in snowfall, which is expected nationwide (see map below). This will necessitate dressing for the occasion and being careful when driving and on the roads in general.
In places, particularly in the southeast, precipitation may fall as sleet or even rain.
Going into Sunday, overnight will be cold, with more snow flurries and potential blizzard conditions.
The new week will start to see milder temperatures, but only relatively – subzero values are expected especially at night, while more snow and sleet is forecast through to Tuesday, where this will transform more to rain as temperatures rise further.
Transport authority: Stay off the roads
As road conditions have worsened due to heavy snowfall still moving north- and northeastward across the country on Saturday, the Transport Administration is urging drivers to stay off the roads if possible.
Snowfall remains heavy in parts, with snowdrifts forming on roads, and the Environment Agency is forecasting up to 18 centimeters of snow, according to a press release published late Saturday afternoon.
Road maintenance crews are all doing their best and snow-clearing and other equipment is already out in full force, but clearing all roads will take time, the Transport Administration said.
Should it not be possible to postpone one's travel, the road authority is urging drivers to exercise caution and adjust their driving in accordance with road conditions.
Recommendations include to plan extra travel time, reduce driving speeds, avoid risky maneuvers and maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles.
Travelers are invited to report info on road conditions to Estonia's state helpline by phone at 1247.
The latest info regarding road conditions and travel restrictions can be found on the trilingual interactive map at tarktee.ee.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots, Aili Vahtla