Index


Introduction



In Uzbekistan, the climate is arid continental in the vast steppe plains of the central-western part, while it's still continental, but moderately rainy (and snowy in winter) in eastern hills and mountains.
Winter is cold, especially in the north: the average temperature in January is around -5 °C in the northernmost areas (the Aral Sea and the northern part of the Kyzyl Kum Desert), while it's slightly above freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) in the central cities of the ancient Silk Road (Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara) and goes up to 5 °C (41 °F) in the extreme south (see Termez). Summer is hot: the average in July ranges from 26/27 °C (79/81 °F) in the north to 30 °C (86 °F) in the south. In the mountains, the temperature naturally decreases with altitude. Uzbekistan is exposed to cold air masses from Siberia, especially in the north-west, but also in the center-south, where they alternate, however, with warmer air masses coming from the south. Clashes of different air masses can cause strong winds, for instance the warm wind blowing from the south-west, which can bring dust storms.
Precipitation is typical of the desert and semi-desert climate in the west, while it's slightly higher, typical of a semi-arid steppe climate, in the central-eastern part. In the mountains, precipitation increases, especially on the more exposed slopes. Summer is sunny, and it's the driest season across the country.

Eastern cities



As mentioned, in the east of Uzbekistan there are hills and mountains.

Tashkent

In the capital, Tashkent, located in the east of the country, at 400 meters (1,300 feet) above sea level, the average temperature ranges from 2.5 °C (37 °F) in January to 27.5 °C (81.5 °F) in July. From the mountains located south of the city, a dry down-slope wind can blow throughout the year, able to raise the temperature by several degrees. In the last few decades, the winter temperature has increased by a few degrees, and also the summer temperature, but to a lesser extent, as happened in many countries of the former Soviet Union. During winter, however, snowfalls and cold waves are quite frequent, though usually less intense than in the past, for instance in January 1969 the temperature reached -29 °C (-20 °F), while during the more recent cold wave of January 2008, it reached -18 °C (0 °F).
In spring, from March to early May, clashes of air masses cause frequent winds, rain and jumps in temperature.
Summer, from June to August is sunny and hot, with highs generally around 35/36 °C (95/97 °F) in July and August, but with peaks above 40 °C (104 °F).
Here are the average temperatures of Tashkent.
Tashkent - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-205101418201813840
Max (°C)791522283336352922159
Min (°F)283241505764686455463932
Max (°F)454859728291979584725948

Precipitation, about 415 mm (16.5 in) per year, occurs mostly from November to May, while in summer it almost never rains. Here is the average precipitation.
Tashkent - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)505080603012433254555417
Prec.(in)223.12.41.20.50.20.10.111.82.216.4
Days88985310036859

In Tashkent, and generally in Uzbekistan, the sun shines regularly in summer, while in winter it is not seen very often, however, some sunny day can always occur.
Tashkent - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours44571012121210753

Fergana

In the easternmost part of the country, in Fergana, located in the valley of the same name, around 600 meters (2,000 feet) above sea level and surrounded by mountains, the climate is slightly colder.
Fergana - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-3-1510151820191483-1
Max (°C)581522283335342921136
Min (°F)273041505964686657463730
Max (°F)414659728291959384705543

In Fergana, precipitation is scarcer than in the capital: only 165 mm (6.5 in) per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Fergana - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)201525202010532122020167
Prec.(in)0.80.610.80.80.40.20.10.10.50.80.86.6
Days44555321134441

Samarkand

Samarkand, the old city and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, located at 700 meters (2,300 feet) above sea level, has also a climate similar to that of Tashkent, though a little less hot in summer because of the higher altitude. Annual precipitation is around 355 mm (14 in), so it's slightly lower than in the capital, but it follows a similar pattern, with a maximum in winter and spring, and virtually no rain in summer.
Samarkand - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-20491417191713730
Max (°C)791421263234332822159
Min (°F)283239485763666355453732
Max (°F)454857707990939182725948

Samarkand
The eastern part of Uzbekistan is home to several mountain ranges, such as the Pamir-Alaj, where the highest mountain in the country is found, Khazret Sultan, 4,643 meters (15,233 feet) high. More to the north, in the region of Tashkent, there is another mountainous area (the western Tien-Shan), where we find the Ugam-Chatkal National Park, which has a diverse landscape, with lakes, forests and canyons.

Southern plain



In southern Uzbekistan, we find a flat area, where, compared to the eastern cities, the climate is slightly milder in winter and warmer in summer. The rains are very poor.

Bukhara

Bukhara is located practically at sea level, in the south-western desert zone, and in fact it receives only 150 mm (6 in) of rain per year. The temperature is not very different from that of the cities already mentioned, but it's a bit hotter in summer: the monthly average temperature ranges from 3.5 °C (38.5 °F) in January to 29 °C (84 °F) in July, when highs are normally about 38 °C (100 °F). Despite the low precipitation amount, in winter the city may experience some light snowfalls.
Bukhara - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-1-14101519201711630
Max (°C)81017253137383731241619
Min (°F)303039505966686352433732
Max (°F)4650637788991009988756166

Bukhara

Termez

In the far south, in Termez the average temperature is higher, in fact it ranges from 5 °C (41 °F) in January to 30.5 °C (87 °F) in July. Only 150 mm (6 in) of rain fall per year; although the average is fairly mild, in winter sometimes it snows, and even here intense frosts can occur. Summer is scorchingly hot, and in the worst moments the temperature can exceed 45 °C (113 °F).
Termez - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)026121620211914951
Max (°C)101319273338403832261912
Min (°F)323643546168706657484134
Max (°F)505566819110010410090796654

Cold deserts



In northwestern and central Uzbekistan, we find desert and semi-desert areas, where the climate is characterized by very cold winters, with winter averages below freezing, and hot summers.
The central-western part of the country is occupied by the vast Kyzyl Kum Desert (or Qyzylqum), where the temperature can reach -30 °C (-22 °F) in winter and 50 °C (122 °F) in summer, while in the far west we find the Ustyurt Plateau, another desert area, which despite its name has an average altitude of around 200 meters (650 feet). The main river, Amu Darya, flows towards the west and eventually reaches the area of the Aral Sea, a large salt lake which was once fed by the river, but has shrunk over the decades because of exploitation for agriculture. Today, the river opens into a large delta, which partly dries up in the desert, while in the south-west, a smaller lake, Sarygamysh, was born from a branch of the river.

Aral Sea

In the area that was once occupied by the southern part of the Aral Sea, in the north-west of the country (the rest of the lake is located in Kazakhstan), winter is definitely cold, so that the temperature remains below freezing even during the day, for weeks. Summer is a bit shorter and a bit cooler, around 34/35 °C (93/95 °F) during the day, even though the highest peaks exceed 40 °C (104 °F). Here are the average temperatures of Chimbay (or Chimboy).
Chimbay - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-8-7-1714182018114-2-6
Max (°C)041122283435342719102
Min (°F)181930455764686452392821
Max (°F)323952728293959381665036

Lake Aral

Best Time



The best times to visit Uzbekistan are spring and autumn in order to avoid the climate extremes to which the country is subject. In particular, you can choose April and October for most of the country (Tashkent, Samarkand, Fergana valley), and the periods from mid-April to mid-May and from mid-September to mid-October in the north-west (see the Aral Sea).

What to pack



In winter: pack very warm clothes, such as a down jacket, a hat, a scarf, gloves; some lighter clothes for mild days in the center and south (see Tashkent, Ferghana, Samarqand, Bukhara, Termez).

In summer: pack lightweight clothes, loose-fitting and made of natural fabric (cotton or linen), a sun hat, a desert turban. A sweatshirt for the evening, especially in the north and at an altitude of a few hundred meters (see Tashkent, Samarqand, Ferghana). In the mountains, at intermediate altitudes, light clothes for the day, a sun hat, a sweatshirt and a light jacket for the evening, hiking shoes; above 3,000 meters (9,800 ft), a sweater and a jacket for the evening; above 4,000 meters (13,000 ft), a down jacket, a hat, gloves, a scarf.
It's better for women to avoid shorts and miniskirts.

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