Last night Ted and I experienced our first Finnish gale, and it was interesting. (For anyone who's a weather buff, the Finnish national weather service has a nice, English-language website; this will take you directly to the weather for Helsinki, but it's easy to move to the satellite and regional views.)
About 11 last night you could really hear the wind pick up, and since I'd checked the weather report before I went to bed, I knew that they were expecting rain, sustained 45 mph winds, higher gusts, and 15+ foot seas in the waters around Helsinki. Pretty exciting, but since I'm in a 11-story, cement-and-steel building I didn't think much about it and went to bed like I usually do, with my windows open.
I spent all night being woken up every hour or so by noises from the wind, especially the sound of covers and other materials blowing around at the construction site next door. (I know, I could've gotten up to close the windows, but that would've taken effort and left the house really stuffy!) When I got up around 6 you could see a really pink sky with the trees waving all around; when I finally took Ted out at 8:30 it looked like someone had dumped branches all over the walking paths. Nothing really big, but the twigs were everywhere. (It seems too early in the year for the leaves to be affected.)
By the time I headed to the Collegium I was worshiping the Land's End "SunShower" parka that I'd bought before I came here. Despite the sideways rain, I could zip it up, put the big hood on, and remain completely dry. Even better, I didn't die of the heat! It was so nice not to have to rely on an umbrella that wouldn't have lasted 50 feet anyway! I also understood why so many adult Finns seem to own galoshes (sp?).
When I got here I ran into one my colleagues who lives on one of the islands connected to downtown, and she told me that it had been pretty wild where she was. Not only did they have branches down, but some roof tiles. It seemed like it freaked her out a bit, and I suddenly stopped being envious that I didn't live on one of the islands!
Now everything's blown over, but I'm imagining how "pleasant" those will be when the weather's in the 30s and 40s. I have a hunch this is the November weather folks here warn me about.