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Wednesday night's snowstorm brings slippery conditions to Estonia's roads

Snowy conditions in Tallinn (photo taken December 2022).
Snowy conditions in Tallinn (photo taken December 2022). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Wednesday night's snowstorm has made driving conditions across Estonia hazardous.

The Environment Agency (Keskonnaagentuur) issued a Level 2 storm warning Thursday, ahead of high winds and driving snow, moving across the country in a westerly direction.

While the winds have died down somewhat in the West as of Thursday morning and temperatures are much milder, driving times to work and school will be longer, due to the hazardous conditions.

In the East, blizzard conditions remain as of Thursday morning, and will recede as lunchtime arrives.

Weather map overnight Wednesday-Thursday. Source: ERR

Wednesday evening brought high winds continuing well into the night and small hours of Thursday; southwesterlies of 8-18 meters per seconds in gusts up to 25 meters per second.

This also drove snow, which tended to fall more as sleet or rain on the islands and in the West – making driving hazardous.

In the Western half of the country, including Tallinn, the precipitation will have ended by the morning rush hour, though driving conditions will remain poor, with at least 10 centimeters of snow on the ground.

The snow will continue in Eastern Estonia through the morning, with higher winds remaining there, and will fall more as sleet or rain as the morning progresses and temperatures rise above zero.

Weather map for the morning of Thursday, November 23, 2023. Source: ERR

By midday, the bulk of the sleet and rain will have passed beyond Peipsi järv, and sleet and rain will only fall in patches during the course of the day.

Daytime weather map, Thursday, November 23, 2023. Source: ERR

Another round of heavy sleet will arrive in the evening, thanks to a low pressure system approaching from the Gulf of Bothnia

This will cover Estonia overnight Thursday to Friday, bringing plenty of wet snow, with the result that the fallen snow pack may increase in depth by another 10cm.

This will serve to make driving conditions hazardous Friday morning as well.

Following its level two warning Thursday, The Environment Agency advised the public to "be very vigilant and keep regularly informed about the weather forecast."

The storm was forecast to make landfall over the islands Wednesday evening and move in an easterly direction from there. It had reached Tallinn by mid-evening.

The Rescue Board (Päästeamet) said Thursday that the storm would lead to electricity outages – according to Elektrilevi's outage map, updated in real time, a little over 2,000 households and buildings were affected by power cuts at the time of writing.

The snowy conditions will remain in the coming days, and average temperatures are set to fall from minus one degree day and night Friday, to -15 overnight Monday to Tuesday.

Four-day weather prognosis, Friday, November 24 to Monday, November 27, 2023. Source: ERR

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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