Lapland, Saimaa face severe risk of flooding

13 May 2018, 02:32

  DF Report

File Photo Visit Finland by Ari-Pekka Darth.

Lapland and the Saimaa region are facing a grave risk of flood as the ice blocks in rivers and lakes have started to melt fast following an increase of temperature last week.

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) forecast the worst spring flooding in Lapland in the last 20 years, reported the national broadcaster Yle.

Flooding with the water level rising to a very high level is feared to hit Rovaniemi and then Tornio and Kittilä.

Lapland and Saimaa are likely to see flooding in the coming weeks, as warm temperatures set spring thaws in motion, the Yle report quoted hydrologist Bertel Vehviläinen as saying.

“Lapland sees flooding every spring, so this year is no exception in that respect, but it will be unusually fierce. Water levels may not reach record levels, but they will be very high,” he told Yle.

He said in Kittilä water is expected to rise beyond the flood level within the next 24 hours and according to a forecast of the local Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY-Centre), the flood water could rise to 70 centimetres above the damage threshold at the peak of flooding.

Flood in Kittilä may force closure of roads and necessitate limited evacuation.

Severe flooding is also forecast for Rovaniemi, the largest city in Lapland, where flooding is expected to peak half-way through the next week. The city in the past saw such a major flooding in 1993 and 1997, said the Yle report quoting SYKE sources.

Tornio is also facing a flood risk as the water of Tornionjoki River is feared to rise. A large number of conscripts have already been deployed to pile sandbags along the riverfront in the city centre.