The Climate and Weather of Chelyabinsk and Chelyabinsk oblast
Chelyabinsk oblast, located deep within the European continent, is characterized by a continental climate with prolonged, cold winters, comparatively short, but warm summers, and transitional fall and spring seasons of short duration. But, as Chelyabinsk oblast is situated in three environmental zones: steppe, parkland, and mountainous-forest, each zone, in its turn, has its own climatic features.
In this way, the winter season in Chelyabinsk oblast lasts five months, usually from November thru March, but in the mountainous areas, winter begins 1-2 weeks earlier and ends 1-2 weeks later than in the forest-steppe. On main and watershed mountains, with heights of 1,000-1,300 meters above sea level, the snow covering melts only in May. In the mountainous regions, the winters are snowy but milder than in the steppe where there is little snowfall and the snow is often carried by blizzards accompanied by ground winds to ravines and covered shelters. Here, the weather is predominately clear and freezing and therefore, the average temperature in January at the southernmost point in the oblast, in the city of Bredach, is 2 œC colder than in mountainous Zlatoyst (-17.4 œC, -15.4 œC respectively).
In the southern Urals, the temperature in the winter is usually -22 to -27 œC. Although the temperature does fall below -30 to -35 œC per year, this does not last more than 2-3 days as a rule. The minimum temperature can drop to -45 œC or lower one time in 50-100 years. In the city of Chelyabinsk, such a meteorological event occurred not long ago, on New Year's Day, January 1, 1979. The pin on the thermometer stopped at the point, -48.3 œC. At the meteorological station in Bred, which is in the steppe zone, the lowest temperature registered in this century was -47 œC. This occurred less than 10 years ago, on February 13, 1994.
The summer season begins in June and ends in August, but the difference between when summer begins in the mountainous-forest and steppe zones and ends can last up to two weeks. Frequently, top soil and air freeze in the mountainous-forest zones during the first ten days of June and the last ten days of August, and on average, there is snowfall in June every 10-20 years.
The summers in the forest-steppe and steppe zones are quite hot. Nearly every year, a maximum temperature of +30...+35 œC has been recorded, but on average, the temperature ranges from +23...+28 œC in the summers.
Summers in the Urals are a time of downpours and thunder accompanied by hail, gusts of wind, and tornados.
Squally strengthened winds are annually observed to occur at speeds from 20 to 25-30 meters per second. Tornados, on the other hand, which are not characteristic for this latitude, are registered only every 20-30 years. Summer downpours bring substantial damage to the mountainous areas, where they are more often observed than in the steppe and forest-steppe zones, and where they form a slope drain with a layer of water the depth of which may range from 2 to 3 meters.
Transitional seasons in the southern Urals last for two months-- spring: April-May, fall: September-October -- and are characterized by drastic temperature changes. For example, in the beginning of May, 15-20 cm of snow might fall after unusually warm weather in the last days of April, when the day temperature had risen to +30 œC. This type of surprise weather carries on into the fall as well. Following the miraculously warm weather of an Indian summer, with the temperature reaching +15:+20 œC, the weather abruptly cools down, the wind picks up, precipitation is transformed into a snowstorm, and the snowdrifts may peak at 2-3 meters.