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Tallinn authorities warn of freezing rain hazard due Tuesday

Signage warning of freezing rain.
Signage warning of freezing rain. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Sleet and snow forecast for Estonia early on in the week is likely to render already slippery sidewalks and roads in the capital and elsewhere more hazardous still, prompting authorities to urge for caution.

In Tallinn, there is a strong chance of freezing rain (Estonian: Jäävihm), which can lead to near deadly slipperiness on sidewalks, falling early on Tuesday morning, according to forecasts, and City of Tallinn partner firms are preparing to put in place anti-slip measures as needed.

Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Vladimir Svet (Center) said: "In connection with freezing rain warning, we have called a crisis meeting for today to go over the instructions for responding to the situation and the required cooperation with all authorities."

"We have instructed the city streets' maintenance partners to conduct preventive anti-slip control plus advance warnings to direct all resources to the streets if necessary. We have also stressed to contractual partners that the priority is to monitor public transport stops, slopes, steps and stairs, crossings, and in particular the maintenance of those roads leading to children's facilities and to hospitals and other health facilities," Svet went on.

"However, even with all these measures in place, an extremely slippery ice glaze can quickly form on the roads, so we in any case ask you to be very cautious when traveling on foot or by car and to keep an eye on weather forecasts," the deputy mayor went on.

Tallinn's Municipal Police, known as MuPo, operates patrol vehicles that are equipped with aggregate material for scattering on slippery zones, and are, it is reported, also of great help to local residents in in combating slippage.

District sub-division authorities in Tallinn also distribute free granite grit to apartment associations in larger buildings.

While the City of Tallinn will maintain the main public thoroughfares noted above, in general, the condition of sidewalks adjacent to private properties is the responsibility of the homeowner or property owner.

Tarmo Sulg, deputy head of the City of Tallinn's Environmental and Municipal Board, said: "We remind property owners that the sidewalks they maintain require particularly intensive maintenance in the case of freezing rain, where necessary, and it may be a requirement to carry out anti-slip several times in a day. The Environmental and Municipal Board and the city districts have acquired enough granite aggregate for anti-slip usage, which will be distributed and ready for use over the next couple of days."

Close to 300 aggregate material containers have been installed at the most frequented and used public transport stops, again in order to combat slipperiness, with additional grit bags provided close to the more hazardous outdoor steps and slopes.

"We recommend everyone follow the weather forecast, pedestrians should make sure that they are wearing suitable footwear for winter conditions, and before stepping on a crosswalk, ensure that approaching vehicles have time to stop, as slippery conditions can prolong vehicle braking distances," Sulg continued.

While Monday is bringing snow in many parts of the country, milder conditions on Tuesday can mean precipitation will fall as rain, including of the freezing variety, or as sleet. Mid-week the temperatures will take a dip, according to current forecasts, to be replaced with milder conditions again on Friday.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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