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2018 World Cup: Showers, storms may impact the first days of play

By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 13, 2018, 11:44:17 AM EDT

  • Rain and thunderstorms could bring wet weather to some matches for World Cup's first weekend.
  • Warm and generally sunny weather is forecast across western Russia.
  • The vast size of Russia means weather conditions could vary greatly at matches played throughout the country.

Venues hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup are spread widely across Russia resulting in a variety of weather for the opening days of the group play.

The first game will be held in Moscow on Thursday, June 14, when Russia will take on Saudi Arabia in Luzhniki Stadium at 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EST).

Dry weather is expected with mostly cloudy skies and a seasonably low temperature of 17 C (62 F) at the start of the match.

All 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities scattered throughout the nation will then open for matches beginning on Friday, June 15.

Given the vastness of this nation, venues are widely separated, with some as far apart as 3,000 km (about 1,860 miles). Because of this, matches taking place at the same time will rarely be subject to the same weather conditions.

World Cup 6/12

There will be the threat for showers from Samara to Yekaterinberg from Friday through Sunday while dry weather prevails across much of western Russia.

Spectators with tickets to the match between Egypt and Uruguay taking place in Yekaterinberg on Friday or the match between Costa Rica and Serbia on Sunday in Samara may want to prepare for rain.

Meanwhile, those heading to Sochi to watch Spain take on Portugal on Friday should dress for hot weather ahead of the match with dry and more comfortable conditions expected during the match Friday night.

"Most venues may have dry weather for Saturday, but there is concern that some rain and thunder could return to Kaliningrad late Saturday or Saturday night," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.

While the match between Croatia and Nigeria in Kaliningrad at 9 p.m. local time could therefore face delays due to nearby lightning, matches in Saransk, Moscow and Kazan will go on uninterrupted by the weather on Saturday.

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It will be important for anyone attending a World Cup match to stay up to date on the local forecast to avoid getting caught in rainy conditions without the proper clothing and protection. This is especially true in central and northern Russia, where stormy weather is most frequent.

In the southernmost reaches of the country, temperatures in mid-June often exceed 27 C (80 F) amid a virtually rain-free time of year.

Umbrellas longer than 25 cm (9.8 inches) when folded are prohibited in World Cup stadiums, along with thermoses and bottles larger than 100 ml (about 4 ounces). Spectators should therefore plan for other ways to keep themselves dry and plan to frequent water fountains or purchase water bottles in order to stay hydrated in the heat.

Sunglasses, hats and sunscreen will be necessities as well for anyone spending long afternoons in the sun.

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