Finland’s Kalajoki Valley hit by floods, evacuations amid ice dam collapses

Finland's Kalajoki Valley hit by floods, evacuations underway amid ice dam collapses april 2024

Officials in Northern Ostrobothnia have issued flood warnings due to rising water levels in the Kalajoki River, impacting the municipalities of Ylivieska, Alavieska, and Kalajoki. Evacuations were conducted in Niemelänkylä, where three individuals were safely moved on Saturday night, 130 km (80 km) south of Oulu.

In Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland, officials have raised alarms about potential severe flooding around the Kalajoki River as temperatures rise, causing snow and ice to thaw. Over the weekend, the river overflowed its banks, affecting the municipalities of Ylivieska, Alavieska, and Kalajoki. On Saturday night, April 13 due to the imminent threat, three residents were evacuated from Niemelänkylä, located approximately 130 km (80 miles) south of Oulu, though no injuries were reported.

The North Ostrobothnia Rescue Service, in a recent press release, indicated that the floodwaters were expected to reach their peak on Sunday and Monday. However, the situation was complicated by ice dams that had formed within the river, making accurate flood predictions challenging.

The situation escalated on Saturday afternoon when two of these ice dams in Alavieska collapsed, prompting further evacuations.

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Amidst the ongoing flood risks, the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has forecasted continued mild weather for the region with rain or sleet likely on Sunday. Daytime temperatures on Sunday might reach up to 12 °C (53.6 °F) in some western areas, with North Ostrobothnia seeing highs of about 10 °C (50 °F).

However, a significant drop in temperatures is expected by the end of the week, plunging to as low as -11 °C (12.2 °F) in North Ostrobothnia by Friday, April 19, which could see new snowfalls starting Tuesday evening, April 16.

Yle meteorologist Nina Karusto noted that snow is also likely in southern parts of the country next week.

The Flood Centre, a collaborative effort between the FMI and the Finnish Environment Institute (Syke), has issued amber alerts warning of local flooding in many parts of western Finland in the coming days, underscoring the severity of the current hydrological situation in the region.


1 Residents evacuated as flood waters rise in western Finland – YLE – April 14, 2024


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