Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Summertime: The Livin' Is Rainy

Maya Alexandra does not need to see statistics to know what everyone who lives in Russia's capital already knows: It has been one terrible, rainy summer.


A horticulturist at the laboratory of the Botanical Gardens of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexandra is responsible for the plant life on the grounds of the sprawling north Moscow park. This year, she doesn't like what she sees.


"It has been a horrible summer for the plants", she said Monday, pulling at an undeveloped bud of a rhododendron plant. "They're suffering from all this ram. I honestly can't remember such a bad season".


Statistics back up that widespread impression. In June, twice as much rain as usual fell in Moscow -139 centimeters, or nearly six inches, compared with 70 centimeters for an average month, according to the Meteorological Center of Russia.


June's average temperature, 14. 1 degrees Celsius or 57 degrees Fahrenheit, was nearly normal. But a sleet storm early in the month when temperatures dove to 3 degrees Celsius has enhanced the impression of a fluke year for weather.


The lousy summer is the talk of Moscow. Theories abound as to its cause, including the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, pollution and local urban effects.


But according to Alexei Lakhov, deputy general director of Russia's central meteorological center, the strange weather can be attributed to simple statistical variations.


"Almost exactly the same amount of rain fell in June 1986, but nobody remembers that", Lakhov said.


The record June rainfall for Moscow was 174 centimeters in 1942.


Lakhov said that during the last several years, summer weather patterns have been dominated by warm air over the Mediterranean Sea. This year, however, winds have mainly come from Scandinavia, bringing wetter, cooler air to Moscow.


For many Muscovites who planned to supplement their diets with food they are growing themselves in private gardens, the rainy June has been a hardship.


"My whole vegetable garden was washed away on Sunday", said Vera Kisilova, a professional gardener for 40 years who was working in a flowerbed Monday. "A storm came up and rain fell as if from a bucket. I don't know what I'm going to do".


Alexandra of the Botanical Gardens confirmed the risk to private gardens.


"If the soil is sandy, the rain will destroy all the plants", she said. "In some places I fear there will be no harvest at all".


Even the bees are suffering due to the lack of blossoms, she added, warning that Moscow was likely to face a shortage of honey this summer.


Already nearly a week into July, the question now on Muscovite's minds is: Will July be any better?


Lakhov said the weather center does not predict more than five days ahead. Their forecast through Saturday? Scattered showers.