Heat wave leaves Moscow sweltering under temps not reached since 1901

·4 min read

A blistering heat wave that has been enveloping eastern Europe nudged its way into western Russia this past week, challenging Moscow records that have stood for more than a century and forcing the city to face heat rarely felt in this region of the world.

On Tuesday, parts of Moscow reached 94.5 degrees F (34.7 degrees C), according to an official reading by the Russian weather service Roshydromet, which ties the all-time June record set in 1901.

Preliminary temperature reports show the Russian capital reached 95 F (35 C) on Wednesday, which may break the record high temperature for June. Then, the high reached 93 F (34 C) on Thursday.

"The rare heat wave is forecast to continue through Sunday," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys, adding that on average Moscow records about only one 90 degree F (32 degree C) or above reading every four years, with no days above 95 F (35 C).

Women walk past a digital board on the historic Central Telegraph Office building in Tverskaya Street showing the temperature of 35°C. On June 23, 2021, daytime temperature is expected to reach +36°C (96.8°F). An orange weather warning has been issued due to the heat wave. (Sergei Fadeichev/TASS)

Moscow is forecast to reach into the lower 90s F (32-35 C) each day into the weekend.

This is not the first time in 2021 that the high temperature has climbed above 20 degrees F (11 degrees C) higher than normal for the time of year.

On May 17 and 18, Moscow reached 87 F (31 C) each day. The normal high temperature during the middle of May is 67 F (19 C). During that same time, temperatures above the Arctic Circle surged above 90 F (32 C), according to Roys.


The temperatures recorded in Moscow in recent days are unprecedented compared to the last 120 years, Roshydromet meteorologist Marina Makarova told AFP.

"This is because of global climate change," Makarova added.

This highest temperature ever recorded in Moscow, 100.4 F (38 C), was recorded in July 2010 when a heat wave engulfed western Russia and wildfires were common across the region, AFP reported.

"Since 1973, the capital has recorded nine days of 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) or above," said Roys. "The last time heat of this magnitude was recorded was in 2016."

A woman and a man cool off by a fountain in Moscow. An orange weather warning has been issued due to the heat wave. (Mikhail Metzel/TASS)

Some residents in the capital city found the harsh conditions difficult to deal with since the area rarely sees the mercury climb so high, according to AFP.

"We're not used to such heat, that's the truth," Pavel Karapetyan, a 35-year-old auditor, told AFP.

However, some visitors welcomed the heat after the harsh winter.

"We've come from Siberia. It's cold there, so it's nice to be here," Alexander Shmel told AFP.

St. Petersburg, located about 370 miles (600 km) to the northwest of Moscow, also hit 94 F (34 C), 92 F (33 C) and 97 F (36 C) on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. These are some of the highest temperatures for the city since 1998, according to AFP.

The sweltering conditions were not limited to western Russia this week as records were broken across eastern Europe.

In Narva, Estonia, the temperature reached 94.3 F (34.6 C), setting a new all-time June record for the city and the country, according to Kairo Kiitsak, a weather forecaster in the Estonian Environment Agency. The previous record was set in 1905.

A man sits on a bench amid sweltering heat in Moscow, Russia, on June 22, 2021. Mikhail Metzel/TASS.

Kyiv, Ukraine, reached 91 F (33 C) on Tuesday and is expected to reach a similar temperature on Thursday and Friday. On average, the Ukrainian capital records temperatures of this magnitude once every two to three years.

On Thursday, several reports of 104 F (40 C) came in across central Hungary, the first time in recorded history that the country hit this temperature in June.

Farther southwest, Belgrade, Serbia, has climbed above 90 F (32 C) since Monday and is expected to continue this trend through Friday. The city may even break triple digits (38 C) on Thursday.

"The only time Belgrade has reached 100 F (38 C) since 1973 was on June 14, 2000," said Roys.

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