Violent electrical storms hit parts of south-central Finland on Sunday, setting off fires, slowing trains and endangering public events.
Particularly hard hit were the areas around Somero, RiihimÃƒÂ¤ki and Lahti. YLE meteorologist Matti Huutonen says the thunderstorm front is moving westward. He adds that it is likely to end the latest heatwave in southern and central Finland.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) notes the storms have brought exceptionally heavy hail, with hailstones measuring more than two centimetres across.
Recent days have also brought an unusually high number of lightning strikes. On Friday and Saturday the FMI recorded nearly 20,000 strikes.
Road, rail traffic hampered
Lightning has caused many fires and blackouts. On Friday one person was killed by lightning in the parking lot of SeinÃƒÂ¤joki Airport in western Finland, while eight conscripts were injured when lightning hit their tent in Hanko.
In the central town of Uurainen, fallen trees that blocked roads were cleared on Saturday night. Some people had been able to leave their summer cottages after lighting knocked down hundreds of trees in a one-hectare area of PitkÃƒÂ¤niemi. Trees also damaged outbuildings and a car.
Lightning also damaged rail equipment, delaying trains on Sunday. Trains between Tampere and SeinÃƒÂ¤joki were running between 20 and 60 minutes behind schedule. Those between JyvÃƒÂ¤skylÃƒÂ¤ and PieksÃƒÂ¤mÃƒÂ¤ki were 20-40 minutes late.
Meanwhile trains between Pori and Vammala were replaced by busses on Sunday evening due to an electrical fault.
Thirty-two residents of a retirement home in Pori had to be evacuated on Saturday night due to storm water damage.