Season review: Latvia has experienced one of the hottest summers in recent years

The average air temperature recorded in Latvia during the calendar summer (June-August) season was +18.1° C, which is 1.9° C higher than the seasonal norm. This makes the summer of 2018 the second hottest summer since 1924.

The hottest summer recorded in Latvia’s history was that of 2010, when average air temperature was +18.4° C.

Minimal air temperature this summer was recorded in Stended on 6 June and was -1.6 C. Maximum air temperature (+34.2° C) was recorded in Bauska on 30 July. This is also a new temperature record for Bauska.

New air temperature records were registered in Ainaži (+33.7° C) and Kolka (+32.1° C). Air temperature records were registered three days in a row.

Average air temperature-wise, July was the hottest month in Latvia with an average of +19.8° C. This makes it the third hottest month in the history of meteorological observations in Latvia. Average air temperature was +15.8° C in June 2018.

Drier than usual

The total volume of precipitation in this year’s summer season was 162.4 mm, which is 28% below summer norm (225.7 mm). Sigulda saw the most precipitation – 234.7 mm. The least amount of precipitation was recorded in Riga (96.2 mm).

All summer months were drier than usual. The volume of precipitation was 43.9 mm (40% lower than the norm) in June, 51.9 mm in July (31% below the norm), and 69.0 mm in August (10% below the norm). June was the fourth driest month in Latvia in recent years. July was the second driest.

Second longest summer – 127 days

Meteorological summer in Latvia started on 9 May this year. Some meteorological observation stations recorded beginning of meteorological summer between 7th and 25th May. In most of Latvia meteorological summer ended 12 September. Summer ended the earliest in Alūksne and Zosēni – 25 August. In Ainaži, Rīga and Skrīveri, on the other hand, summer lasted until 22 September. Meteorological summer in Latvia lasted 127 days, making it the second longest summer since 1961.

The longest summer recorded in Latvia so far was the one from 2004 – 135 days.

Heat and drought records

This year’s summer in Latvia is also notable with its heat and drought. Two major heat waves were recorded – in second half of May and the end of July. From 26 July to 3 August every day one of the country’s meteorological observation stations recorded new air temperature records. Heat indexes were some of the highest since 1961.

Fifteen stations recorded new air temperature records during summer days (>+25° C). Tropical nights were observed in Ainaži, Jelgava and Liepāja.

Although in most days air temperature was higher than the norm, the third ten-day period in June was colder than the norm. On 3 July, average air temperature in Ventspils was only 11.0° C. Air temperature this low has not been recorded in Ventspils since 1976.

At the beginning of summer, weather in Latvia was particularly dry – the period from 4 May to 20 June was the driest since 1961, according to data from meteorological observation stations. This drought was only increased in the second half of May. The situation was worse because of less rain than usual. Because of lasting drought, the risk of fires increased, causing forest and grass fires in some parts of Latvia.

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