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Snowstorm to cause driving difficulties, power outages likely

Snowstorm in Tallinn in December of 2022.
Snowstorm in Tallinn in December of 2022. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

A snow storm is forecast to reach Estonia Wednesday evening, starting on the Western Estonian islands before sweeping across country. The Rescue Board warns of potential power outages.

On the evening of Wednesday, heavy snow and sleet and snowstorms will reach the western islands. Strong winds of up to 15 m/s inland, 21 m/s on the coast, and 25 m/s on the islands are expected.

On Thursday, strong winds will sweep across the country and blizzards will spread to the mainland. Snowfall is expected to reach between 7-12 cm and up to 15cm in south Estonia. On Thursday morning, the snowstorm will continue in eastern Estonia. In the west, the snow will give way to rain and there is a risk of glazed ice. Roads will be slippery in the evening, the Environment Agency said Tuesday.

"Heavy snowfall and blizzards will render road conditions difficult and motorists should consider whether they need to head into traffic in such weather," said Janno Sammul, director of road maintenance at the Transport Administration Wednesday.

"People should take more time to prepare before driving tomorrow morning and cars that still have summer tires fitted should not be used," he added.

Choosing the right speed and driving style is crucial in wintry road conditions. The speed limit is not an obligation, while drivers are urged to keep distance from the vehicle in front and avoid overtaking.

The Transport Administration also reminds divers to pay attention to and facilitate road maintenance vehicles, such as snow plows, by leaving them enough room to perform their tasks. When overtaking road maintenance vehicles, one should make sure it is safe and consider that the road in front might not be cleared of snow.

Rescue Board: Power outages likely in store

The Rescue Board also urges people to be extra careful when driving and prepare for possible power and water outages.

Heavy snowfall and strong winds mean that branches might fall on power lines and cause regional outages. Difficult road conditions and multiple simultaneous outages mean that restoring power to customers may take longer than usual. The Rescue Board recommends making sure there is enough food and drink in the house, charging phones and battery packs and refueling cars in good time.

"The more everyone can do for themselves and their family, the better we will weather this storm. We recommend wearing warm clothing, including footwear, and equipping cars with a small shovel and a towing rope to increase the chances of getting cars unstuck independently. The worse the conditions, the longer it will take responders to reach people, which is why we should all try to help ourselves as much as possible," Meelis Mesi said for the board.

A level two weather warning has been issued for November 22 and 23. Source: Environment Agency.

A level two weather warning means the weather is "dangerous." The Environment Agency advises people to "be very vigilant and keep regularly informed about the weather forecast."

Information by region can be viewed on the website.

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Editor: Helen Wright, Mari Peegel, Marcus Turovski

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