120-year record in jeopardy as Moscow sizzles under historic heat wave

By Maura Kelly,
120-year record in jeopardy as Moscow sizzles under historic heat wave
Russians spend time outdoors during sunny hot weather on a closed beach in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday. Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE

A blistering heat wave that has been enveloping eastern Europe nudged its way into western Russia this 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, according to an official reading by the Russian weather service Roshydromet, which ties the all-time June record set in 1901.


The temperature reached around 93 F in the Russian capital again on Wednesday.

"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 or above reading every four years, with no days above 95 F.

Moscow is forecast to reach into the lower 90s F each day through the end of the week and into the weekend. The high may even reach 95 F on Thursday.
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This is not the first time in 2021 that the high temperature has climbed above 20 degrees F higher than normal for the time of year.

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


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

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St. Petersburg, located about 370 miles to the northwest of Moscow, also hit 94 F, 92 F and 95 F on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

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

In Kunda, Estonia, the temperature reached 94.3 F, setting a new all-time June record, according to Kairo Kiitsak, a weather forecaster in the Estonian Environment Agency. The previous record was set in 1905.

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Kyiv, Ukraine, reached 91 F 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.

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

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

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