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Estonian authority: Impending blizzard conditions to put roads in bad shape

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Part of a 25-car pileup on Tallinn Ring Road in Kurna. January 12, 2024.
Part of a 25-car pileup on Tallinn Ring Road in Kurna. January 12, 2024. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Road conditions in across the country are going to get increasingly difficult overnight and into Tuesday morning, the Transport Administration warned Monday, as heavy snowfall is forecast to reach the Western Estonian islands starting Monday afternoon before spreading toward the mainland, and winds turning to the northeast are expected to pick up, making for blizzard conditions.

Denser snow clouds will move northward over Southern Estonia overnight into Tuesday, and winds will pick up in the interior by morning as well, making for more widespread blizzard conditions. The southern half of the country can expect up to 15 centimeters of snowfall; other parts of Estonia may see 4-10 centimeters. Temperatures are forecast to remain below freezing.

Road conditions across the country will be very difficult overnight Monday and during the morning rush hour on Tuesday, the transport authority warned, adding that the snow and wind will make for very slippery roads and poor visibility.

Drivers can expect major traffic jams along Tallinn's Ring Road and roads entering the capital city during rush hour on Tuesday morning. The Jüri-bound side of Ring Road between Luige and Kurna was the site of a 25-car pileup just last Friday.

The Transport Administration is asking people to plan for significantly more time than usual when driving Tuesday morning, and reminding drivers to significantly reduce their driving speeds, maintain longer stopping distances between vehicles and take longer braking distances into account.

Snowfall is expected to taper off over the course of Tuesday, beginning from the west, and road conditions should improve accordingly.

Check Tark Tee for the latest info on conditions across Estonia, available in English, Estonian and Russian.

Level 1 warning issued across Estonia

The Estonian Weather Service (EWS) issued a level 1 (yellow) warning across the entire country, describing forecast conditions as "potentially dangerous."

The EWS is forecasting even more snow than the Transport Administration, with expected accumulation forecast to reach 7-20 centimeters, and as much as 25 centimeters locally.

It also issued a level 2 (orange) warning on the Northern Baltic Sea, describing conditions as "dangerous," with wind gusts of up to 26 meters per second possible earlier in the day and up to 21 meters per second in the afternoon.

Map of weather warnings issued by the Estonian Weather Service on Monday morning. January 15, 2024. Source: Estonian Weather Service

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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