Muscovites get through their hottest May days ever

Weather in Moscow breaks temperature record with highs of 35 Centigrade. It is the hottest May in the 120-year history of temperature record-keeping in Moscow.

No-one here expected the temperature to rise above 20 degrees this month, but after the warmest winter in memory, people are starting to understand their country too is in the grips of climate change.

“We will have the temperature ten or even more degrees higher and instead of 25 we will have 45. It is very hard and all of us can feel this. It is very hot, we are all thirsty, we are tired. And especially it is very hard for elderly people,”   Nina Korobova, an economist at Global Carbon company said. 

The air has become more toxic than usual due to hot weather, as the heat prevents substances like nitrogen peroxide from dispersing into the atmosphere, the Russian meteorologists warn. That is bad for everybody, particularly those with respiratory complaints – many have opted to stay out of the suns rays, others are heading to their cottages in the countryside.

City slickers and children mix together on the banks of the Moscow River, drinking water and eating ice-cream.

While many safely revel in the heat, huge numbers of people are drown in the city's lakes, rivers and ponds – many of them under the influence of alcohol. With a long hot summer expected rescue and emergency services fear the worst that they'll yet again be stretched to breaking point.

The government has made repeated warnings to the public that drinking and swimming doesn't mix but few in this heat are prepared to heed the advice that staying safe in the sun isn’t just about applying tanning lotion.

While the Muscovites are languid with the heat winter time is back in some parts of Europe.

The unexpected snowfall has become a surprise for the people of Swiss mountain districts. The trees have fallen, the wires have been broken, and some of the villages are isolated. Community cars are set to clear the snow but it is not enough. As almost all the techniques were sent to summer precautions. 

The car holders have already prepared for the summer and changed the tires. Slippery roads do not make any good for them.

Muscovites to spend three weeks without hot water

And as temperatures are already reaching record-breaking highs this summer, things are about to get a lot worse for millions of Muscovites. Their hot water gets switched off for up to three weeks in preparation for winter.

Living without hot water for several weeks in summer is a familiar problem for almost everyone in the city. Officials set up a schedule with a list of when and for how long hot water will be switched off. The switching-off begins on May 10, and for many this is already a problem in full swing.

Aleksandr Zatvan, executive head of the Moscow Energy Company, explains the reasons for the inconvenience.

“We supervise about ten thousand kilometres of heating systems, and all these systems require servicing. To avoid any wintertime cataclysms – I mean leakages, bursts, and, as a consequence, water supply failure in the winter period, the heating season – we have to run hydraulic-pressure tests in the system during the summer. Bursts result where the pipes are old; we repair them and in this way make the city ready for winter,” Mr Zatvan says.

The time the inconvenience lasts depends on the area you live in. There are places where the pipes are new, so the switch-off will last only a couple of days, while in other areas there will be only cold water available for up to three weeks.

Altogether over 4,000 pipes need to be replaced throughout the Russian capital. Just over 250 will be replaced this year. This means that the time when there will be hot water in the city all year round will come in about 17 years.

Throughout Moscow, the inconvenience will last until August. So unless you are willing to invest in a water heater, be prepared to go to a public bath – a banya – or travel to the seaside.