Friday, December 8, 2023

Most violent flood in Muonio in more than 50 years – “You have to go by boat from the road to the hut”


Many areas of Lapland have suffered from the worst floods in more than 50 years. For example in Tornio the peak of the flood is still ahead.

Viera, from Rovaniemi, was shopping with her parents in the center of Muonio when she noticed water had completely taken over the nearby beach area.

In some areas the water even reached the road, says Veera.

Veera’s mother Heidi says that the water has increased a lot during the day.

Within a few days the water rose rapidly.

Heidi and Viera’s family have a summer apartment in Muonio. Luckily for the family, it is not in danger, as it is located high enough up.

– There were garages at the water’s edge, right in the middle of Muonio, says Viera.

The family’s cottage neighbors have also reported serious problems. Water affects, for example, a neighbor’s floor line.

– The roof is almost covered with water, and you have to go by boat from the road to the hut, says Veera.

For example, during floods you have to use a boat or canoe.

For example, during floods you have to use a boat or canoe. Photo: Magazine Photo

Apart from Muonienjoki, other parts of Lapland also have rare flood conditions.

The Finnish Environment Center (Syke) states in its press release that the floods of Tornionjoki and Muonnionjoki are the biggest in 55 years.

Ari Koistinen, group manager of the Finnish Environment Institute, says the same.

In Pelo, about 140 kilometers south of Muonio, water levels are now at their highest since the great flood of 1968.

The buildings in the center of Muonio have had to rely on water.

The buildings in the center of Muonio have had to rely on water. Photo: Reader’s photo

Due to the flooding, roads and pedestrian and cycling routes have been closed in the areas of Kitila, Yelitornyo, Pelo and Sodankyla.

Even if the road is not closed, there may be water on the road.

Koistinen says that some buildings have become wet and are in danger of being submerged.

Lohestajanmaja by Muonianjoki.

Lohestajanmaja by Muonianjoki. Photo: Reader’s photo

Viera, who spends time in a summer apartment in Muonio, says the family brought the sauna water from a different location because of the flooding, which could have carried, for example, the hoofs of the cabin.

Bathing in them is not very good.

Heidi mentions that the family fetches water from a clean stream instead of Muonienjoki.

The family has seen several floods over the years, but never before has they encountered anything like this at this time of year.

Heidi says the family has been visiting the Muonio area for at least 10 years.

– It seems that for the first time we have seen this flood so fast.

Ajkowski is bubbling wildly.

Ajkowski is bubbling wildly. Photo: Reader’s photo

Unfortunately, the peak of the flood has not yet been observed in all regions, says Ari Koistinen.

Water may still rise in the Muonio area. Koistinen says the water is expected to be higher on Saturday than on Friday.

There may be an increase of 20 cm.

Along with Aunasjoki in Kittila the water level will rise by another 20-30 cm and the flood will be the biggest in 18 years. However, flood embankments completed in recent years protect the most important sites, Psyche estimates.

Further south, the water is still rising.

Camping is prohibited, say signs in the flooded area at Muonio.

Camping is prohibited, say signs in the flooded area at Muonio. Photo: Reader’s photo

At Pelo’s height, the situation is currently critical, as the peak of the flood is already at risk. There the water is still rising, but according to Koistinen it is barely more than 20 cm.

Torneo is also expected to experience the biggest flood in half a century.

The flood peak is just ahead at Tornionjoki, downstream from Kolar. Water in the city of Tornio could rise by half a meter, for example, by Monday.

In the lower reaches of Tornionjoki, water levels may be up to 80 cm higher than last spring.

However, according to Koistinen, fortunately the situation is not as bad as it seems, as flood embankments have been built in river areas in recent decades. The embankments, for example, protect Torniot and Pelo from the worst damage, says Koistinen.

Ejkoski in Muonio.

Ejkoski in Muonio. Photo: Reader’s photo

According to Koistinen, for example in the area at the top of Muonnionjoki, water has already begun to recede in some places. Friday is the peak of the flood.

Koistinen estimates that in early June the water level in Muonio may be at its normal height for that time.

– The flood will pass in a week or two.

The worst moment of a flood usually lasts a few days, says Koistinen.

The flow and water levels of most other rivers in Lapland have already been declining for some time. Flood peaks were mostly of the same magnitude as a normal spring flood.

In Rovaniemi, for example, Kemijoki’s largest spring flow is probably behind, Psyche said in its press release.

The signs were covered under the flood.

The signs were covered under the flood. Photo: Magazine Photo

The melting of the ice has formed the basis of the flood, says Ari Koistinen.

Heavy rains have also increased the amount of flood water. In recent days, water has dropped from the sky, in some areas even more than 30 millimeters, just below the peak of the flood.

Even without the rain, the rivers would have overflowed, but the rain worsened the peak of the flood over time.

Water came into the Tornienjoki catchment area on the Swedish side and western Lapland on the Finnish side. That is, over a wide area, a lot.

flood protection

Proper protection protects the building from getting wet.

A flood barrier prevents flood water from entering the base of a building.

A flood barrier is made, for example, from sandbags stacked on top of each other.

Floor drains and toilet seats on the ground floor should be blocked so that water from drains does not flow inside.

The construction of flood barriers and other safety instructions can be found at

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