In the endless Asian Russian territory, the climate is characterized by frigid winters: in fact here we find the coldest inhabited places in the world. Moreover, if we exclude the northernmost part, whose climate is Arctic or sub-Arctic, and partly the east coast which has a cold maritime climate, in most of the territory the summer is warm, and it can even get hot, due to the strong continentality of the climate.
The average temperature in January is almost everywhere lower than -10 °C (14 °F), and goes down to -45 °C (-49 °F) in inland eastern areas. The July average is around freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) in the northern islands and along the Arctic coast, while it goes up to 20 °C (68 °F) in the southernmost areas.
During winter, in most of the country the powerful Siberian Anticyclone dominates, except in the eastern seas, where the clashes between continental and maritime air masses give rise to intense low pressure areas, associated with snowfalls. In the vast plains, in the West Siberian Plain but also in the valleys of the Central Siberian Plateau and of Yakutia, cold air stagnates to the soil, and the sky is often gray, with frequent light snowfall, while outbreaks from the Arctic may lead to raging blizzards.
Precipitation is scarce almost everywhere during the long winter months, because of the cold: snowfalls are frequent but light, and the snow can be carried away by the wind; summer is almost everywhere the rainiest season, due to the greater availability of heat, so that afternoon thunderstorms may occur in inland areas, while the south-eastern areas are affected by the Asian monsoon, and therefore in summer it rains even more. In most of Siberia, yearly precipitation is between 150 and 500 millimetres (6 and 20 inches). In the far east, the Kamchatka peninsula is the wettest region of mainland Siberia: in some areas precipitation exceeds 1,000 mm (40 in) per year, and a lot of snow can fall in winter.
Southwest of Kamchatka, the Kuril Islands are even wetter, since precipitation reaches 1,500 mm (60 in) per year. Here winters are snowy and stormy, for the clash between frigid air masses coming from continental Siberia, and mild air masses coming from the subtropical latitudes of the Pacific. Summers in the Kurils are very cool, because the sea retains the cold accumulated during the winter months, and quite rainy.

Index


The Pole of Cold



The Siberian Pole of Cold
The Siberian winter gets colder from west to east, since at high altitudes the currents of Atlantic origin prevail, which gradually cool as they move over the continent: the coldest area is therefore the Republic of Yakutia (or Sakha), located in the eastern part. The coldest city is Ojmjakon, located in the upper Indigirka Valley, on the 63rd parallel and at 740 metres (2,400 feet) above sea level, where the average temperature in January is an astonishing -46 °C (-51 °F), while that of July reaches 13 °C (55.5 °F); the lowest record is even -70 °C (-94 °F). Another very cold city is Verkhoyansk, located more to the north but in the plains, in the Yana River Valley, whose coldest record is -70 °C (-94 °F) as well, or according to other sources -68 °C (-90 °F); here the average goes from -46 °C (-51 °F) in January to 17 °C (63 °F) in July. Since the highest recorded temperature in Verkhoyansk is 37 °C (99 °F), the highest temperature range has exceeded 100 degrees Celsius! In the past decades, when the climate was colder, in this area of eastern Siberia, the average temperature in January was below -50 °C (-58 °F). This area is the "Pole of Cold" of the Northern Hemisphere, in fact it's colder than the North Pole, and it's surpassed only by the central area of Antarctica. At these temperatures, a human being is likely to freeze in a few minutes, if not properly dressed, while buildings tend to become brittle because of the cold.

Ojmjakon

Here are the average temperatures of Ojmjakon.
Ojmjakon - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-51-48-41-25-6251-4-21-41-49
Max (°C)-42-36-22-571821188-10-32-40
Min (°F)-60-54-42-132136413425-6-42-56
Max (°F)-44-33-823456470644614-26-40

Precipitation in Ojmjakon is scarce during the long winter, given the cold; no wonder the rainiest season is summer, when, however, the rains are not abundant. Here is average precipitation.
Ojmjakon - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)6756133545402314128212
Prec.(in)0.20.30.20.20.51.41.81.60.90.60.50.38.3
Days33123798554352

In Ojmjakon, the sun is rarely seen from November to January, also because of the short duration of the day, while in spring, due both to the length of the day and the low number of rainy days, it shines for a fair amount of hours.
Ojmjakon - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours14899101085420

Yakutsk

In Yakutsk, the capital of Yakutia, the average goes from -41 °C (-42 °F) in January to 18.5 °C (65.5 °F) in July, while in the last century the average in January was -45 °C (-49 °F). Here, the lowest record is -64 °C (-83 °F), while the highest is 38 °C (100 °F). In an average year, 240 mm (9.5 in) of rain or snow fall, with a summer maximum of 40 mm (1.6 in) in July, and a minimum in winter, of just 8/10 mm (0.3/0.4 in) per month from December to March, of course not in the form of rain but of light snow. The amount of sunshine from May to September is slightly better than in Ojmjakon.
Yakutsk - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-45-41-29-13081280-13-34-43
Max (°C)-37-30-1311322252112-4-25-35
Min (°F)-49-42-20932465446329-29-45
Max (°F)-35-22934557277705425-13-31

North coast and islands



Siberia, arctic and subarctic climate zone

Along the northern coast of the Arctic Ocean, the average in January and February ranges from -20 °C (-4 °F) in the west, to less than -30 °C (-22 °F) in the central and eastern part, and rises again to around -25 °C (-13 °F) in the far east, and -20 °C (-4 °F) in the Bering Strait, beyond which we find Alaska. In the arctic regions, the lowest records hover around -45/-47 °C (-49/-53 °F), which means that they are not lower than those of the southern part of the Siberian mainland.
Here are the average temperatures of Tiksi, on the northern coast of the Sakha Republic (therefore, in the coldest part of the coast, the central-eastern one). The summer temperatures, low but above freezing, make it an example of the subarctic climate.
Tiksi - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-36-34-31-24-10034-1-16-28-32
Max (°C)-29-27-22-14-3711104-9-21-25
Min (°F)-33-29-24-1114323739303-18-26
Max (°F)-20-17-87274552503916-6-13

At these latitudes the sun is not seen from November to January, as the sun does not even rise; the sunniest season is spring (in April there are 9 hours of sunshine per day, in 22 hours of sunlight), while in summer the sun becomes less frequent, as cloudy and rainy days increase.
Tiksi - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours016968843200

The sea is frozen solid from November to May; remember that being salted, the sea freezes at about -2 °C (28.5 °F).
Tiksi - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)-2-2-2-2-202330-2-2
Temp (°F)282828282832363737322828

During summer, temperatures remain around freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) in the northernmost islands (where the climate is arctic), they are around 3/4 °C (37/39 °F) along the northern coast, and go up to 10 °C (50 °F) a few hundred kilometres to the south (limit of the subarctic climate). The highest recorded temperatures are around 15/20 °C (59/68 °F) in the Arctic islands, and around 25/27 °C (77/81 °F) along the northern coast of the continent. Precipitation is scarce in winter, when it occurs in the form of light snow, and it's more abundant in summer, when it can still occur in the form of snow in the northernmost coasts and islands.
Here are the average temperatures of Zhokhov Island, located at a latitude of 76° N, and belonging to the group of the New Siberian Islands. Here the climate is arctic.
Zhokhov Island - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-32-32-31-24-12-3-1-2-7-2-26-30
Max (°C)-26-27-24-17-7031-3-11-20-24
Min (°F)-26-26-24-11102730281928-15-22
Max (°F)-15-17-111193237342712-4-11

The southern cities



Siberia, southern cities

In the southern plains, where we find the major cities, which are located along the Trans-Siberian Railway, the climate is strongly continental, but more forgiving than the northern areas, not so much for the lowest records, which are very low here as well, but for the warmer and longer summer.

Yekaterinburg

For example, in Yekaterinburg, the former Sverdlovsk, near the Ural Mountains, the average temperature goes from -14.5 °C (6 °F) in January, to 19 °C (66 °F) in July. In winter the temperature can drop below -40 °C (-40 °F), while in summer it can exceed 35 °C (95 °F).
Yekaterinburg - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-18-16-8061114116-1-8-15
Max (°C)-11-811017222421145-3-8
Min (°F)031832435257524330185
Max (°F)121834506372757057412718

In a typical year, 500 mm (20 in) of rain or snow fall, with a summer maximum, of 70 mm (2.8 in) in July, and a minimum in winter, around 10 mm (0.4 in) from December to March. Snowfall occurs from October to April. Here is the average precipitation.
Yekaterinburg - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)252015304575806555403025500
Prec.(in)10.80.61.21.833.12.62.21.61.2119.7
Days75468101010998692

In Yekaterinburg the sun is not so rare in spring and early summer.
Yekaterinburg - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours2467910975322

Omsk

Further to the east, in Omsk, the climate is even more continental, so that the average temperature goes from -17.5 °C (0.5 °F) in January, to 20 °C (68 °F) in July.
Omsk - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-22-21-13-151214116-2-11-19
Max (°C)-13-12-3918242622166-4-10
Min (°F)-8-693041545752432812-2
Max (°F)91027486475797261432514

In Omsk, precipitation decreases to 390 mm (15.3 in) per year, because the city is located in the arid zone of Central Asia, even though it maintains the same pattern, with a winter minimum and a summer maximum. Here is the average precipitation.
Omsk - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)221414203555605535353022390
Prec.(in)0.90.60.60.81.42.22.42.21.41.41.20.915.4
Days75456899798683

In Omsk, the sunshine amount is even better in spring and summer, and there are even 11 hours of sunshine per day in June.
Omsk - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours24689111086322

Further to the east, in Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk, the climate is similar to that of Omsk, but precipitation increases slightly, breaking again 400 mm (16 in) per year, because we enter the area affected by the Asian monsoon, which receives a little more rain in summer.
Further to the east, in Irkutsk, near Lake Baikal, 500 metres (1,600 feet) above sea level, the average goes from -20 °C (-4 °F) in January, to 18 °C (64 °F) in July. Precipitation amounts to 410 mm (16 in) per year; the cold record of the last thirty years is -50 °C (-58 °F).
In eastern Siberia, north of China, the effect of the summer monsoon is more noticeable, so that rainfall exceeds 100 mm (4 in) in the month of July.

Blagoveshchensk

In Blagoveshchensk, on the Amur River and near the border with China, the average is between -22.5 °C (-8.5 °F) in January, and 21.5 °C (70.5 °F) in July. The records of the last thirty years are: -45 °C (-49 °F) the lowest, and 39 °C (102 °F) the highest.
Blagoveshchensk - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-28-24-13-261317147-2-15-25
Max (°C)-17-12-11019252725189-5-16
Min (°F)-18-119284355635745285-13
Max (°F)1103050667781776448233

Here precipitation amounts to 575 mm (22.6 in) per year, with a pronounced minimum from December to February, of less than 10 mm (0.4 in) per month, and a maximum in July and August, of 130/135 mm (5.1/5.3 in) per month. Here is the average precipitation.
Blagoveshchensk - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)551235459013513070221410575
Prec.(in)0.20.20.51.41.83.55.35.12.80.90.60.422.6
Days22357101111943370

In this eastern part on the border with China, winter is quite sunny, while in summer and until September the sky gets cloudy with some frequency, due to the summer monsoon.
Blagoveshchensk - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours477788776654

Eastern coasts and islands



Siberia, eastern coasts and islands

In the long eastern coastline, the presence of the sea makes the climate more temperate, so that winter is less frigid, while summer is cold (or at least cool) and wet. In winter, cold currents carry drifting ice towards the island of Hokkaido in Japan. During summer, fogs are frequent in the central and northern areas; if we exclude the northernmost area, August is albeit slightly the warmest month, because the sea warms up more slowly than the mainland.
South of the Bering Strait, the coast bordering the Bering Sea has a subarctic climate, with long, cold winters and very cool summers; the average in July and August is around 10 °C (50 °F).

Anadyr

In the northeast, in Anadyr, in the gulf of the same name, at a latitude of 64° N, the average temperature goes from -22.5 °C (-8.5 °F) in February to 11 °C (52 °F) in July; precipitation amounts to 270 mm (10.5 in) per year, with the usual summer maximum. The city is located in a sheltered bay, but along the coast of the Bering Sea the annual precipitation generally exceeds 500 mm (20 in).
Anadyr - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-23-26-24-18-62871-9-19-24
Max (°C)-15-19-17-1011014137-4-12-16
Min (°F)-9-15-110213646453416-2-11
Max (°F)5-2114345057554525103

In this northern part of the Bering Sea, the sea remains frozen solid from January to March, while it is partially frozen in December, April and May.
Anadyr - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)-2-2-2-1-1289621-1
Temp (°F)282828303036464843363430

Magadan

Further south, in Magadan, in the Sea of Okhotsk, the average temperature is between -17 °C (1 °F) in January and 12 °C (53.5 °F) in August: winter is cold and dry, because in this season winds blow from the mainland, and then pick up moisture and bring snowfall over Kamchatka. The annual precipitation amounts to 550 mm (21.5 in), with a maximum of 85 mm (3.3 in) in August. Snowfalls occur from October to May, but they are not abundant, because as we said the winter is dry.
Magadan - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-20-18-15-8-15995-4-14-17
Max (°C)-15-13-8-25111415101-9-13
Min (°F)-4051830414848412571
Max (°F)591828415257595034169

In Magadan the relatively sunniest months are March and April, since later from May to September there is a certain number of days with rain or even fog.
Magadan - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours247867665431

Petropavlovsk

In Petropavlovsk-Kamčatskij, in the wet peninsula of Kamčatka, the average temperature goes from -8 °C (18 °F) in January, to 12 °C (53.5 °F) in August.
Petropavlovsk - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-11-11-8-41591072-5-8
Max (°C)-6-5-3161114151270-4
Min (°F)121218253441485045362318
Max (°F)212327344352575954453225

Precipitation amounts to 1,330 mm (52.5 in), and is frequent throughout the year, which means that in winter there are heavy snowfalls. The wettest season, however, is autumn. Here is the average precipitation.
Petropavlovsk - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)110901751107560701051001451801151335
Prec.(in)4.33.56.94.332.42.84.13.95.77.14.552.6
Days10912998121010101011120

In Petropavlovsk, the sunshine amount is not great all year round, because of the frequent disturbances.
Petropavlovsk - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours346666666543

At Petropavlovsk, the sea, close to the freezing point in winter, remains cold even in summer, reaching only 11 °C (52 °F) in August and September.
Petropavlovsk - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)211136101111853
Temp (°F)363434343743505252464137

In the island of Sakhalin, summer is a bit warmer, while winter is cold, with heavy snowfalls. In summer, due to the effect of the Asian monsoon, rainfall exceeds 100 mm (4 in) per month; occasionally, the island may be affected by typhoons, tropical cyclones coming from Southeast Asia.
Yuzhno Sakhalinsk - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-17-17-11-238121492-513
Max (°C)-7-5071318212219123-4
Min (°F)1112283746545748362355
Max (°F)192332455564707266543725

Vladivostok

In Vladivostok, on the coast of the Sea of Japan, in the southernmost part of Siberia (at 43 ° north latitude), the average temperature goes from -12.5 °C (9.5 °F) in January, to 20 °C (68 °F) in August.
Vladivostok - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-16-14-616111517135-4-13
Max (°C)-9-6291517212319123-6
Min (°F)372134435259635541259
Max (°F)162136485963707366543721

In Vladivostok the summer rains are abundant, so much so that in August 155 mm (6 in) of rain fall, and although winter is dry and sunny, but also swept by dusty winds from Mongolia, the total annual precipitation amounts to 800 mm (31.5 in), because of the summer rains. Even this coastal area can occasionally be affected by typhoons in August and September, although when they arrive here they are weaker than they were in the tropical regions. Here is the average precipitation.
Vladivostok - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)1519255560100125155125654018800
Prec.(in)0.60.712.22.43.94.96.14.92.61.60.731.5
Days33478111110764377

In Vladivostok the sun is often seen in winter, while in summer, cloudy days are frequent due to the monsoon.
Vladivostok - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours677664457765

Unlike in the rest of Siberia, at Vladivostok the sea warms up in summer, so that it becomes almost acceptable for swimming, especially in August.
Vladivostok - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)21248131821191494
Temp (°F)363436394655647066574839

Vladivostok

When to go



The best time to visit the Asian part of Russia is summer, especially in July and August, being the warmest, while in the rest of the year the cold prevails.
In the arctic and subarctic regions, summer is the only period in which the temperature exceeds freezing, in particular in July and August, with a preference for July, which is usually warmer (or less cold). It should be remembered in the northernmost regions, which have an Arctic climate, mud dominates in summer, because the ice does not melt completely. On the contrary, in the other areas, the thaw begins in April in the extreme south, and occurs progressively later and until June as you move to the north.
In the vast northern plains and in the area of the "Pole of Cold", temperatures are acceptable from June to August, with a preference for the period mid-June to mid-August. Sometimes it can get hot during the day, but it can still get cold at night, sometimes even around freezing.
In the southern cities, the best period runs from June to August, though the temperature is usually above freezing even in May and September.
In the eastern coastal regions, the best months are July and August, although they are quite foggy and rainy, because in any case they are the least cold. In the southernemost part, in Vladivostok, the best period is from July to September, although it is the rainiest due to the summer monsoon.

What to pack



In winter: clothes for the big cold, synthetic thermal long underwear, fleece, parka, fur hat, wind jacket in Goretex, warm boots.

In summer: in Arctic coasts and islands, warm clothing, down jacket, hat, gloves, raincoat; in continental areas and southern cities, spring/autumn clothes, short-sleeved shirts for hot days, jacket and sweater for the evening, warmer in the northern areas; raincoat or umbrella especially in the eastern area affected by the monsoon (see Vladivostok). In eastern coasts and islands, spring/autumn clothes, sweater, warm jacket, raincoat; gloves and hat for the northern part and offshore excursions. In the mountains, warmer clothes depending on altitude; for the highest mountains, fleece, down jacket, warm hat, gloves, scarf.