The coast of Helsinki and Espoo is one of Finland’s 21 flood risk areas. However, there is no need to fear major floods such as in Western Europe in the metropolitan area.
Heavy rain and the ensuing floods have wreaked havoc in Western Europe. For example, in Germany at least 120 people have died and more than a thousand people are missing.
The situation in Western Europe may have raised concerns about whether a similar situation could occur in Finland. Leading specialist in general land use planning in the City of Helsinki Eija Kivilaakson according to him there is no need to worry about it.
According to Kivilaakso, similar floods cannot occur in Finland or Helsinki.
“We may sometimes have a situation where the monthly rainfall is a day, but there can’t be as many floods as in Germany,” Kivilaakso says.
The Baltic Sea and the cool waters of the northern hemisphere protect Helsinki from floods like Germany. The terrain is also helpful, as there are no altitude differences like Germany or major floods caused by rivers in Finland.
In addition, flood risk has been carefully considered in city planning.
“The situation is well under control here.”
Completely however, Helsinki is not safe from floods either. The coast of Helsinki and Espoo is one of Finland’s 21 flood risk areas.
HS reported in 2017that, according to the worst calculations, in 2100 sea floods in Helsinki could rise to almost three meters. It is estimated that seawater floods in particular will become more common and worsen due to sea level rise and climate change.
Read more: Helsinki is preparing for floods of more than 2.5 meters – see HS’s maps of how the sea would rise to the shores
That is why Helsinki has been preparing for major floods, especially since 2005. At that time, the sea level rose by 1.5 meters, and the Market Square flooded. The flood was the worst in more than a hundred years of measurement history.
In addition to the Market Square, flood risk areas in Helsinki also include Vartionkylänlahti and Sarvastonkaari. Water can also rise around Rautatientori because the interest rate level in the area is low and there is a lot of asphalt in the area.
There is not yet a risk plan for all flood risk sites in Helsinki. Plans for Merihaa and Sarvastonkaari, for example, are currently underway.
Stone Valley According to him, construction in flood risk areas is safe in Helsinki. The most important guideline in new construction is the lowest construction height defined by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, which should ensure that even high-rise floods do not wet the foundations of buildings.
How much the area needs to be raised during construction will vary by area. Typically, flood risk areas on the shore are raised to more than three meters above sea level.
Kivilaakso is of the opinion that when a flood risk area is built, the area will no longer be a flood risk area. Therefore, for example, Arabianranta, which used to be a flood risk area, is no longer there. The beach area is designed so that the park gets flooded from time to time.
“When the area is raised to the required height, the flood risk disappears,” he says.