Marjo Hippi (FMI): Predicting sidewalk slipperiness


Marjo Hippi explains how FMI deals with slipperiness during winter.


Icy and snowy sidewalks are very typical phenomena in Finland during winter. Near zero temperatures and slipperiness due to ice and snow on sidewalks increases the pedestrians' slip risk. Almost every second person slips annually in Finland and around 50 000 persons (1 % of Finnish population) are injured needing medical attention. Slip injuries cause huge economic losses, long sick leaves, and human suffering. The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has developed a numerical weather model that predicts the sidewalk slipperiness from pedestrians' point of view. The model classifies the sidewalk slipperiness into three classes: normal, slippery, and very slippery. Very slippery sidewalk condition mean that the slip risk is increased. Typical situations for very difficult sidewalk situations are packed snow, freezing or ice layer covered by water or snow. The model is a tool for duty meteorologists when issuing warning about slippery sidewalk condition.


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