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The Diversity of Russian Climate
July 31, 2006 12:56

Sometimes when choosing a place for vacation, one of the most important criteria is climate. In winter most of us want to go to a warmer place, in summer - closer to water or somewhere, where the heat is not so pungent. In Russia you could get all-in-one. The so-called "Russian winter" doesn't last the whole year round. And no, there are no bears in the streets either.

As Russia is a really huge country, you can find here whatever climate you like. Think of it as an individually programmed thing, a gift from Russian nature. The climate ranges from cold in the north, mild in the middle, to rather hot in the south.

Moscow: winds of change

The climate of Russian cities usually reflect their "flavour" and character. For example, in Moscow the weather forecast service used to be the most common object of jokes. One of the reasons justifying unreliable forecasts is a considerable temperature amplitude between parts of Moscow: like Rome, Moscow stands on 7 hills, hence some parts are naturally windier or hotter than others. In general, Moscow climate is moderately continental.

There are two main periods in the year, the cold one starts at the end of September and lasts for approx. 7 months until April. The duration of severe snow period usually falls between November 26 and April 11. The height of the snow cover reaches 35 cm by the end of February. But these meteorogical estimates are usually far from reality, as by the end of the winter 2m-high snow-drifts can be found on the roadside. Then it gradually starts to melt.

The temperature extremities are not typical for Moscow, but fluctuations happen quite often. Long thaws happen in December, and in summer hot weather sometimes gives way to spells of chilly wind and long, pouring rains. All in all, Moscow climate both shapes and emulates the personality of a capital citizen: always on the go, always ready for a change, although not necessarily loving it. Even the winds conform to this way of life, by changing their direction daily. 

St Petersburg: a philosopher's rainy haven

Northern St. Petersburg has always been colder than its southern neighbors, and surely quieter. The weather conditions of the city are much different from what you can see in most North European cities. It is characterized by an intermediate (from nautical to continental) climate. The weather is quite mild and humid with frequent fogs and rains, thus affecting those who live in St Petersburg. The citizens can be described as calm, friendly and pensive, as befits the imperial, regal city. In summer there may be short periods (about a week), when the temperature goes up to +30° C. The rainiest month is August. High humidity is the result of the lack of sunny days. The average July temperature is +17.8C. But whatever the weather is, the city's inhabitants and visitors absolutely love the wonderful period of the year called "white nights" (from May 25-26 till June 16-17), when the sun only goes below the horizon for a short period of time, and light time of day continues for almost 19 hours.

Sochi: the hospitality of the South

It seems that southern people are always more joyous, fun-loving, and open, compared to northerners. What is Naples for Italy, is Sochi for Russia. If you wish to visit warm lands with lots of sun, you should go there. Even in winter you can come here for rest and relaxation, to shed off the cares and troubles of your busy life. Sochi's Black Sea coast is the warmest sea in Russia, the only Russian subtropics. It is situated in the centre of the Caucasian Black Sea coast and stretches from Magri to the Psou river for 145 km. Warm air masses coming to the Black Sea coast are held back by the mountains. They prevent cold northern air from coming here.

Sochi's climate has three seasons instead of four, and there is no winter with snow and cold. A warm and humid summer changes into a long autumn; the latter then changes into an early spring. In January the average temperature varies from -5 to +7 degrees. In winter the Black Sea warms the air, the high mountains shielding the coast from cold winter winds create the humid subtropical climate. And you never know, if it is about the weather or about the stately sea or anything else, but people, who have ever visited Sochi, say that it’s the warmest and one of the most hospitable places in Russia.

Nastya Makryashina


Tags: Black Sea places to visit in Russia Russian climate   

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