Monthly weather forecast and climate

Flag of Finland
Flag of Finland

The climate of Finland

Finland has a predominantly subarctic climate. The majority of the country has a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc), with cool summers. The southern coast experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), with mild summers. The extreme northwest tip has few regions that fall under the tundra influence (Köppen ET). Finland is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. Finland shares land borders with Russia in the east, Norway in the north, and Sweden in the west. The Gulf of Bothnia lies to the west, the Gulf of Finland to the south, and the Baltic Sea in the southwest. The country's location in the extreme northern latitudes and proximity to major water bodies mainly influence the climate.

Finland lies between the high latitudes of 60°N and 70°N, entirely in the taiga belt. The Arctic Circle passes through the Finnish region of Lapland. The landscape is mostly flat with few hills and mountains. Halti, between the border of Finland and Norway in the extreme north, with an altitude of 1324 meters, is the highest point in Finland. The Finnish Lakeland area has thousands of lakes, while numerous islands dot the Archipelago Sea region in the southwest. Saimaa is the largest lake in Finland, with an area of 1700 square miles. Ridges of sand and gravel run from the northwest to the southeast. Coniferous taiga forests of pine, birch, and spruce cover the landscape along with fens. Wetlands occupy poorly drained areas. The drainage divides of Suomenselka and Maanselka rise high in the west and are colder than areas at similar latitudes.

Winter is the longest season in Finland and lasts from October to mid-May in the extreme north. Polar nights last for 51 days north of the Arctic Circle when the sun does not rise above the horizon. Lakes freeze regularly, and even the seas occasionally solidify at the peak of the winter. Cold air masses from Russia push the temperatures below -20°C (-4°F). The northern and eastern regions are the coldest, and temperatures plummet to -50°C (-58°F) in northern Lapland. The Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift currents prevent the winters from excessive cold. Westerly winds keep the summers cloudy. The continental high-pressure system over Eurasia brings cold winters and high summer temperatures. The Barents Sea is open for navigation even in the winter. Summers are warm and short everywhere except on the southern coast. The sun does not set for 73 days in the summer in the extreme north. Temperatures are usually in the 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F) in much of the country. Nights in Lapland remain cold below 10°C (50°F). Vegetation grows rapidly in the short summer season. The snow melts by the end of April in the cold spring season, and the landscape is prone to floods. September is cold and wet in the autumn.

Finland receives moderate annual rainfall of 508mm (20") to 711.2mm (28"). The northern region registers 482.6mm (19") to 584.2mm (23"), while the south records 584.2mm (23") to 711.2mm (28"). The rainfall occurs throughout the year, with a peak during August in the summer. Half of the annual precipitation in the north falls as snow. Lapland receives first snowfall by September end and the southwestern corner the latest by Christmas. Permanent snow cover of 609.6mm (24") to 914.4mm (36") in the north and 203.2mm (8") to 304.8mm (12") in the south occurs in March. The annual sunshine in Finland is weak and ranges between 1550 hours in northern Lapland to 1800 hours in the southwestern corner. The average seawater temperatures are cold between 0°C (32°F) to 13.9°C (57°F) in the Gulf of Bothnia and 1.1°C (34°F) to 17.2°C (63°F) in the southwest. October to January is the windiest period. Finnish seas register an average of 19 stormy days in the year.

The highest recorded temperature in Finland is 37.2°C (99°F), set on June 29, 2010, in Liperi. The lowest temperature on record is -51.5°C (-60.7°F), set on January 28, 1999, in Kittila, Lapland.

The best time to visit Finland

The best time to visit Finland is from June to mid-August in the summer. Warm temperatures, usually in the range of 17.8°C (64°F) to 22.2°C (72°F), are comfortable for outdoor activities. A few days register in the hot zone of 27.8°C (82°F) to 32.2°C (90°F). Lapland occasionally has cold nights. June is cooler and drier than July, and temperatures begin to decline in the second half of August. Summer has long days and experiences the popular white nights in the south and midnight sun in the north. The least cloudy days occur in the warm season, although the sunshine is moderate.

The worst time to visit Finland

The worst time to visit Finland is generally from November to March, including the icy winter. The days are short, and the sunlight is poor. Christmas is mostly white, and the northern regions do not see the sun for days together. Tourists experience the Aurora Borealis or the northern lights during the peak of the cold season in the north. The south is frigid from December to February. Snow lovers like March, which sees an improvement in daylight amid plenty of snow on the ground. Snowfall is abundant in all regions and highest in the north.

Weather hazards

Finland faces weather hazards, mainly in the form of snowstorms, floods, and avalanches. Floods mostly occur during spring after the melting of the snow. Ice dams contribute to winter floods in many regions. Floods cost 10 million euros in damages in 2013. Flooding is the primary reason for residential evacuation and property destruction. Snowstorms in the winter often make roads impassable. Visibility is poor during blizzards, and there are several instances of damage to power lines due to fallen trees. Storms stall everyday life with delays in air traffic, trains, trams, and make road travel dangerous. Treetops and roofs buckle under heavy snow load.

Weather in January

January is the coldest month of the year in Finland, with frigid days and nights. The conditions are cold and dark as polar nights are prevalent in the extreme north, with no sunshine for days together. The Northern Lights are visible during extremely cold days. The average temperatures in Ivalo and Rovaniemi in northern Lapland are in the icy zone of -17.8°C (-0°F) to -7.8°C (18°F). Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is cold in Finland, with a slight increase in temperatures and sunshine. The average temperatures in the north are between -17.2°C (1°F) and -7.8°C (18°F), while the south registers in the -8.3°C (17.1°F) to -0.6°C (30.9°F) range. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March is an extension of the cold winter in Finland, with snow cover in most regions. The snow depth is often the highest. Helsinki average temperatures are in the range of -3.9°C (25°F) to 2.2°C (36°F), and most nights are below freezing. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April brings spring season in southern Finland, Aland, and the southwestern archipelago. The spring lasts for 45 days in the north to 65 days in southern coasts and maritime areas. The average daily temperatures register between 0°C (32°F) and 8.9°C (48°F), as the daily sunshine increases to 7 hours. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May extends the spring season to the northernmost parts of Lapland. In Ivalo, polar days begin by the fourth week of May, and the sun is continuously on the horizon for the next 73 days. The days are mild in most regions, but nights are freezing. Rovaniemi has average temperatures between 0°C (32°F) and 13.9°C (57°F), with clear skies for 45% of the time. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is the beginning of the beautiful summer in Finland, with warm days and cold nights. The average daily temperature remains consistently above 10°C (50°F) during the warm season. The daily sunshine lasts for more than 9 hours in much of the country. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is usually the warmest month in Finland, as the temperatures rise significantly in the interior. The mercury column remains below 30°C (86°F) near the coasts and maritime islands but reaches 35°C (95°F) in the interior. Heatwaves occur during the peak of the summer but rarely last for more than 8 days at a time. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is the wettest month in Finland, with an average precipitation of 76.2mm (3") in much of the country. The skies remain overcast for 50% of the time in most regions, and at least one day out of three is rainy. The average temperatures in Helsinki and Turku are between 12.8°C (55°F) and 20°C (68°F), with 9 hours of daily sunshine, and 78.7mm (3.1") of precipitation. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September lies in the short autumn season in Finland, with the daily average temperatures between 4.4°C (39.9°F) and 10°C (50°F). The average temperatures in Rovaniemi are cold between 2.2°C (36°F) to 13.9°C (57°F), while Helsinki is in the mild 5.6°C (42.1°F) to 16.7°C (62.1°F) zone. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is the beginning of the cold winter in much of Finland. The nights are below freezing in much of the country except for the south. Oulu registers cold temperatures in the range of 1.1°C (34°F) to 6.1°C (43°F) and receives 45.7mm (1.8") of precipitation. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November lies in the icy winter in Finland, with cold and dark conditions. The daily sunshine lasts for hardly 1 hour as the skies remain overcast for 70% to 80% of the time. The daylight decreases to slightly less than 4 hours near the Arctic Circle to 6.5 hours in the southwest by the second half of the month. Helsinki registers average temperatures in the cold -0.6°C (30.9°F) to 3.9°C (39°F) region, with many freezing nights. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is a peak winter month in Finland, with temperatures below freezing during days and nights. The skies remain cloudy between 71% and 85% of the time. Lakes, rivers, and seas freeze, many a time as far as Helsinki in the south. The north and east are frigid, with temperatures in the average zone of -16.1°C (3°F) to -4.4°C (24.1°F) in Ivalo and Joensuu. Weather in December »


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