Stormwinds cause little damage - but topple Christmas trees

The cyclone named “Billie” spared Latvia the worst of its gale-force winds Saturday, veering slightly to the south of its originally forecast route, however knocking down municipal holiday decorations with their Christmas trees in the south-central Kurzeme and Zemgale provincial towns of Saldus and Dobele, reported the state meteorology and fire and rescue services.

The strongest wind gusts from “Billie” were reported on the shores of Kurzeme and Vidzeme provinces: Liepāja measured 35 meters per second, Ventspils 33 m/s, Ainaži 31 m/s, while Daugavgriva near Riga hit 28 m/s.

Behind the cyclone came clearer skies and relatively warm temperatures above zero, while the winds had already died down to 13-18 meters per second by Saturday night.

The state Fire and Rescue Service was summoned to over 100 calls requesting assistance from damage caused by the storm, 43 of them in Kurzeme province and 33 around Riga.

Also busy Saturday and Sunday were more than 1000 employees among more than 400 brigades of electrical workers striving to restore power to about 38,000 clients left without electricity. Early Monday there were only about 50 or so homesteads in central Kurzeme’s Kuldiga district waiting for the power to come back on.

The weather during the work week leading up to the holidays, as well as in the extended forecast, calls for mild cyclone-like weather to prevail: warm, moist and windy. Skies may clear at times, however should remain mostly overcast, bringing occasional light rain, wet snow, possibly hail. Winds will remain from the southwest, reaching occasional gusts of 13-18 meters per second.

While a cyclone could bring colder weather as well, forecasters expect warmer-than-usual temperatures this Christmas season, precluding the likelihood of a white Christmas, possibly something similar to last year's bizarre readings at +10 degree Celsius, when one could pick mushrooms in the forest and some vegetation was actually sprouting buds in confusion.

 

 

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