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Moscow sees hottest June day for 120 years with more to come

Moscow has sweltered through its hottest June day for 120 years after the temperature hit 34.7C with even hotter weather expected over the coming days.

Russia’s weather service, Roshydromet, which blamed climate change for the soaring temperatures.

The weather service, which has kept records since 1881, is forecasting temperatures above 35C on Thursday and Friday. Monday was the hottest June since 1901.

Trucks spray water in Sadovoye Koltso Street in Moscow to protect the road surface from overheating.
Trucks spray water in Sadovoye Koltso Street in Moscow to protect the road surface from overheating. Photograph: Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

“The increase in temperatures recorded in Moscow for these days is unprecedented in 120 years,” said Marina Makarova from Roshydromet.

“This is because of global climate change.”

The highest-ever recorded temperature in Moscow – more than 38C – was in July 2010 when much of western Russia suffered a massive heatwave and huge fires.

Russia’s second city, St Petersburg, 370 miles (600km) north-west of Moscow, has also had hot weather this month, with temperatures hitting 34C, the highest since 1998.

Not all Muscovites were ready to face the sweltering challenge.

“We’re not used to such heat, that’s the truth,” said Pavel Karapetyan, a 35-year-old auditor, adding that it was “difficult”.

Others welcomed the change, especially compared with Russia’s long, cold winters.

“We’ve come from Siberia. It’s cold there, so it’s nice to be here,” said visitor Alexander Shmel, 33.

A woman at a fountain in the centre of Moscow.
A woman at a fountain in the centre of Moscow. Photograph: Mikhail Metzel/TASS

As global temperatures rise with climate change, heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent and intense, and their effects more widespread.

Russia has set numerous records in recent years and in June 2020 registered 38C in the town of Verkhoyansk – the highest temperature recorded above the Arctic Circle since measurements began.

The rising mercury levels have contributed to devastating floods and forest fires that have affected Siberia with increasing regularity.

They are also contributing to the melting of permafrost, which covers about two-thirds of Russia’s large territory.

Russia is also set to benefit from climate change, with a decline in the summer ice cover of Russia’s Arctic maritime shipping route, called the northern sea route, allowing for longer transit periods.

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