Several Russian regions will experience “extreme hot weather” over the next few days, chief scientist at the Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia Roman Vilfand told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
The freak weather conditions are expected to be most severe in the Volga River region and the Ural Mountains. Temperatures in these areas could rise to 37 degrees Celsius, 8-13 C higher than normal for this time of year. Such extreme heat threatens people’s health and could provoke forest fires in some regions, Vilfand added.
The heatwave has been raging through Siberia and European parts of Russia for two weeks, with Moscow and St. Petersburg seeing a rapid shift from snow to record heat in the space of just ten days. Some areas around the Arctic Circle were as hot as beaches in Southern France and Italy.
Temperatures in Ufa, Samara, and Orenburg rose to 31-32 C May 22, smashing heat records. Areas around Chelyabinsk, Ekaterinburg, Perm and Omsk are also experiencing unusual heat, which is likely to persist in the Ural and Volga regions for at least five days, Vilfand said.
Last year, a similar heatwave led to an especially destructive fire season in Russia.
Extreme weather events in Russia have doubled in frequency in the last 20-25 years, Vilfand said in an interview with the Ura.ru news website last year.