July 29, 2010 / 3:09 PM / 9 years ago

Sweltering heat breaks new record in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The summer heat set a new all-time temperature record in Moscow on Thursday, a leading forecaster said, adding that the unprecedentedly long heatwave could be interrupted already on Friday.

Boys cool themselves in a fountain at All-Russian Exhibition Centre in Moscow July 16, 2010. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

Temperatures in the Russian capital hit 37.7 degrees Celsius (99.86 Fahrenheit), beating the previous record set on July 26, said the Fobos forecasting centre which provides weather data for the country’s top media outlets.

At Domodedovo airport outside Moscow, temperatures soared to 38.7 Celsius (101.66 Fahrenheit), Fobos said.

The adverse effects of the severe heat which has been terrorising Muscovites since late June are aggravated by heavy smog which blankets the city of over 10 million and is caused mainly by burning peat in forests surrounding Moscow.

Russia’s chief lung doctor Alexander Chuchalin warned on Wednesday that due to a large concentration of toxins in the air walking in the streets of Moscow is like smoking two packs of cigarettes every few hours.

Mineral water and soft drinks sell like hot cakes in Moscow, while many pharmacies have run out of oxygen sprays.

Elsewhere in Russia, a drought unseen for all 130 years of weather observation has killed crops on an area the size of Hungary, leading the government to impose a state of emergency in 23 regions.

But after suffering from the suffocating heat for nearly six weeks, Muscovites may finally get a breather on Friday when a cold atmospheric front is expected to bring extreme temperatures down to above 30 degrees Celsius, Fobos said.

The fall in temperatures will be accompanied by heavy rain showers and thunder storms which are expected to reduce smog.

In Finland, a record temperature of 37 Celcius was measured on Thursday, the Finnish Meteorological Institute said.

“According to preliminary observations, the highest ever temperature record has been measured today, when the temperature at Joensuu airport rose at 4 p.m. (1300 GMT) to 37 Celcius,” the institute said on its website.

Joensuu is located in eastern Finland, 437 kilometres northeast from Helsinki.

The previous temperature record was 35.9 Celcius from July 1914, in the western coast city of Turku.

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