Snowmen in summer?! This is northern Sweden right now

Lee Roden
Lee Roden - [email protected]
Snowmen in summer?! This is northern Sweden right now
A kid in Kiruna finishes off building a summer snowman. Photo: Johan Ylitalo

The summer may be warming up for most of us in Europe, but for residents of northern Swedish town Kiruna, winter made a dramatic late return on Thursday.


On the same day that Spain recorded its warmest day of the year, with the mercury hitting 40 degrees in Andalucian town Andújar, Sweden's northernmost county of Norrbotten was covered in snow.

The downpour combined with strong winds even led to Sweden’s national weather institute SMHI issuing a class-1 weather warning.

That didn’t stop the local kids from enjoying the surprise snow showers however. As photographer Johan Ylitalo captured perfectly on the night of June 9th.

Though born and raised in Kiruna, even he was surprised when he looked out of his window and saw a snowman being constructed in front of his eyes. Ylitalo told The Local that he couldn’t let the moment pass without documenting it.

“I thought: I’ve never seen this before, I need to take a picture,” he explained. “Snow isn’t uncommon here, but this amount is unusual. It normally melts when it hits the ground in June.”

The photographer also shared an image on Twitter of his snow-covered barbecue, with the caption "The grill will have to wait a bit, even if we got to use it once before the 'snow shock'." 

Other Twitter users in Kiruna shared their images of the summer weather, including a chilly graduation celebration, and footage of a storm.

Fellow Kiruna resident Mattias Forsberg on the other hand seemed surprisingly unfazed by the summer snowfall when asked about it by The Local, noting that changeable weather is part of everyday life in Sweden’s furthest north.

“It was 25 degrees here and warm two weeks ago. It’s a bit of a contrast,” he laughed. “Today is the last day of school, the trees are green, but there’s snow on the ground. It’s not so weird, though. I think two years ago there was 10cm of snow on Midsummer’s Eve.”

That may sound like too hard a life for most, but both hardened northerners said they enjoy life above the Arctic Circle. Even if it can be unpredictable.

“It’s a bit special up here, but it’s all I’ve ever known. We have a short summer, but a beautiful one,” concluded Forsberg.

“Apart from a little bit of snow it’s so pretty here in the summer,” Ylitalo insisted. “To name but two beautiful things, there’s the midnight sun, and what we call 'spring-winter'.”


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