Jim Andrews

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Historic Heat Wave in Russia

August 1, 2011; 1:11 PM ET

It is hot in areas that sweltered in 2010

Abnormal heat broke out from the Caspian region, up the Volga valley and into much of European Russia during July. Taking the nation's capital as a quick example, our records at AccuWeather.com show that Moscow was 6.0 degrees C above normal for the month as a whole. This very significant result is, however, overshadowed by the Russia heat was of 2010, which took the nation's weather records to a new level.

Indeed, the heat did not reach the level of last summer (8.3 degrees C above normal at Moscow Observatory, with all-time high of 38.2 C), nor was it accompanied by severe drought as did the fire-ravaged summer of 2010.

Nevertheless, something interesting has happened this summer in the southern Russia flatlands northwest of the Caspian Sea.

But first, some background. In 2010, this area marked the very core of heat from the start of summer until the beginning of September.

Among the internationally distributed weather observations from Russia is Yashkul, whose blistering summer of 2010 yielded Russia's highest historical temperature, 44.0 degrees C (111.2 F), on July 11.

I should say here that an "unofficial" high of 45.4 C is claimed for Utta, a town on the road between Yashkul and Astrakhan. I take this from Maximiliano Herrera and his extreme temperature website. I must thank him for his efforts in tracking and recording weather history.

Fast forward to 2011. A late-July blast of heat out of central and southwest Asia gripped the lower Volga/NW Caspian region beginning about July 26. At Yashkul, the heat topped out with a high of 44.2 degrees C on the 30th.

But Yashkul was not the hot spot, however. Among the international sites, one was hotter, and this was Divnoye. Divnoye edged out Yashkul by 0.1 degree C, its July 30 high of 44.3 now tops in Russia (other than Utta).

There are some other remarkable temperatures reported elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere this summer. Sometime soon, I hope to talk about a few of these.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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