Wednesday thunderstorm silenced radio channels and brings traffic chaos to Helsinkihttp://www.hs.fi/
About 2,500 bolts of lightning were generated by the massive thundercloud, and as much as five centimetres of water came down in some places.
One person, who was struck by lightning in Kirkkonummi, was hospitalised.
At the broadcasting centre of the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE in Pasila, a building was evacuated at about 11:00 in the morning because of what proved to be an erroneous fire alarm.
At the same time, YLE's local and national radio broadcasts were silenced by lightning. Repairs were delayed by the presence of toxic fire extinguisher chemicals in broadcast building.
There was an estimated hour of radio silence. Broadcasting were restored at about noon.
"Today was a complete disaster for us. But a small engineer is quite powerless in the face of the powers of nature", sighed YLE technical director Jorma Laiho, who said that lightning struck the Pasila link tower at least four times.
"What we learned from this is that in the future we must have a backup room to set up a miniature replica of the broadcast centre for these kinds of emergencies."
Adding to the confusion were the public warning sirens that switched on in different parts of Helsinki. In situations such as that, citizens are urged to go indoors and turn on the radio for information from the officials.
Taisto Hakala, the Helsinki Rescue Department's fire chief on duty, said that the situation was "awkward", because YLE's radio channels were not working at the time.
"The matter was resolved by sending official information to both YLE as well as the Finnish News Agency STT, through which the information was relayed to the whole media."
The bulletin stated that there was no special need to take shelter.
Electricity failures further encumbered the activities of the officials. The telephone exchange of the Pasila police headquarters was out of operation for several hours.
The rescue departments of Espoo and Helsinki responded to dozens of automatic alarms triggered by on by lightning. However, there was relatively little water damage to buildings.
Traffic lights in many parts of Helsinki did not work, and an electric failure stopped Metro service on the Mellunmäki branch in the east of Helsinki.
Electricity problems also caused tram lines 6 and 8 to alter their routes.
The telephone exchange of the Helsinki Taxi Centre went silent for hours. Some Internet connections around Southern Finland were also cut off.