In the far north snow typically covers the ground from November to May - and remains on the highest hills into June. Along the south coast the first snow often falls in early November, but more permanent snow might only settle in time for Christmas.
In midwinter, the skies in the north are tinged with amber and lilac during the short daylight hours, known as kaamos, and often illuminated by the mystical colours of the aurora borealis (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi) by night. The northern lights can also be seen as far south as Helsinki several nights a year.
Temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero are not unusual in arctic regions. In the south winter temperatures typically vary between zero and 20 below freezing. The coastal waters of the Baltic are usually frozen over from January to March.
The spring thaw usually occurs in late March in the south, and early May in the north, leading to floods in low-lying areas, or where ice floes block raging rivers.
In the Summertime
In summer the midnight sun can be seen north of the Arctic Circle for up to two months. Even in the south, the sky remains light all through the night around midsummer in late June – when the Juhannus festival marks the longest day, and most Finnish families return to their roots in the countryside. Summer temperatures in Finland are similar to those in Britain or Central Europe, though there can be colder spells in the north.
The most colourful part of the autumn - known as ruska - begins when the nights draw in and the first frosts bite in the beginning of September in the North, and later in September further south. Ruska is a popular season for hiking, especially on the open fells of Finnish Lapland, where colours can be stunningly beautiful.
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