This section presents statistical data on the climate and environmental situation and weather in Moscow, Russia.
MOSCOW’S CLIMATE AND TEMPERATURE
The climate of Moscow is temperate continental. The widespread notion of Russia’s extremely harsh winter is hardly true for Moscow: the city is located on 55th parallel north latitude, just like Denmark or Northern Ireland where climates are by no means arctic.
Geographically, Moscow is much closer to Berlin than to Siberia. Both extreme frosts (below -20 °C) and scorching heat (above 35 °C) in Moscow are rare, but the weather is very unstable, especially in spring and autumn: sunny days get interrupted by cold snaps and strong winds, snowy winter days alternate with periods of thaw. On average, Moscow gets 700 mm of rainfall per year, most of it during summertime. For your reference this compares with other cities as such: London — 590 mm, Rome — 760 mm, Berlin — 580 mm, Madrid — 440 mm. And in popular tourist destinations such as Istanbul and Bangkok this rainfall reaches 850 mm and 1500 mm respectively. The average annual Moscow temperature is +7 °C, wind speed — 2.3 m/s, air humidity — 76%.
MOSCOW CLIMATE GRAPH
See below to find out what Moscow is like in different seasons and months of the year and figure out what to wear when travelling to Moscow.
Moscow in December-February — a moderately cold winter with average temperature of -5..-8 °C (High: 0..-5 °C, Low: -5..-10 °C). Precipitation falls mainly as snow, the snow cover is firm, the daylight is 7-10 hours. There are brief periods of frost down to -20..- 25 °C.
Moscow in March — slightly frosty, about 0..-2 °C. Precipitation falls as snow, and occasionally as rain.
Moscow in April — feels cool, +5..+8 °C. Precipitation falls mainly as rain, sometimes snow. The snow cover normally melts in the first half of the month.
Moscow in May — it gets warm, about 13..+15 °C. Precipitation falls as rain. During certain periods at the beginning of the month the temperature in Moscow may drop to +6..+8 °C.
Moscow in June-August — a moderately hot summer with an average temperature of +16..+20 °C (High: +22..+25 °C, Low: +15..+20 °C). Precipitation falls as rain. Brief periods of hot weather are possible, lasting from a few days up to 1-2 weeks with daytime temperature rising above +30 °C.
Moscow in September — warm month with average temperature +10..+12 °C. Precipitation falls mainly as rain, sometimes in the second half of the month — sleet. There is no snow cover. The length of daylight decreases from 14 to 11.5 hours by the end of the month.
Moscow in October-November — cool months with an average temperature of about 0..+7 °C. Precipitation falls as rain; snowfalls are also common in November, although snow cover is usually absent or temporary. The length of daylight decreases from 11 to 8 hours.
So as you can see, the best time to visit Moscow is during late spring, summer and early autumn months (May through the first half of September) and winter (from mid-December till February). During these months, the weather conditions are more stable: it is easy to pick clothes for the trip and wet windy weather is rare.
Moscow in summer
Moscow in winter
A few tips for travellers:
- When checking the weather forecast in order to choose the right clothing and footwear for your trip, please keep in mind that in 2-3 days it will most likely change and the temperature might increase or decrease by +/-5 °C. The accuracy of weather forecasts in Moscow beyond 7 days mark are not very dependable. Be prepared for rain.
- Variations between day and night temperatures in Moscow are not large. In winter, it is usually a little cooler in the Moscow region than in the city.
- Don’t be afraid of cold weather in the dead of winter in Moscow, it’s a wonderful time of year: you will get the feel of a true Russian winter, but without the extreme cold! Sunny and frosty January is so much more pleasant than March with its wet snow and howling wind. Just make sure to come prepared: take really warm clothes and shoes with you.
- In December and January the daylight is only 7-8 hours. This means that at 4pm it starts to get dark and by 5pm Moscow is dark like at night. Therefore, it’s better not to plan any evening trips outside the city limits during the winter months. Instead, spend these evening hours visiting museums or exploring the city’s downtown area. And don’t forget about nice little restaurants and warming drinks.
- June is the month when fluff from the female poplar trees (seeds) fills the air in Moscow and floats everywhere. Back in the day, tens of thousands of poplar trees were planted in Moscow and since then June has become a very difficult time for people suffering from pollen allergies.
Use our recommendations for travel to visit the Moscow attractions at the best time of year.
ECOLOGY IN MOSCOW
Moscow is the largest city in Europe with a population exceeding 11 million people. Unfortunately, in the past two decades the ecological situation in Moscow has changed for the worse, which obviously has caused higher Moscow air pollution. The reasons for this include the exhaust from millions of cars, decreasing amount of green space and parks, and large-scale construction. As a result, Moscow has acquired all the typical environmental problems of a growing metropolis and consistently ranks among Russia’s top ten most polluted cities and among the thirty most ecologically unfavourable capitals of the world.
Nevertheless, measures to move industrial production outside the city limits and reduce the number of vehicles entering the downtown area give us good reason to hope for the best. In any case, there is no ecological catastrophe in Moscow, and a short trip there won’t do you any harm.
Environmental conditions throughout Moscow are not homogeneous:
- Due to the wind pattern, flow direction of the Moskva River, northwestern and southwestern districts of Moscow are considered to be more ecologically favorable areas. On the contrary, the east and southeast Moscow are ecologically unfavourable, which is aggravated by the concentration of production industries and constantly congested traffic in this part of the city.
- Construction of buildings and engineering communications brings a lot of sand and dust to the streets.
- In the periods when snow falls or melts and the temperature hovers around zero degrees Celsius (March-April, November) the city streets are quite muddy, with a mixture of melting snow, de-icing agents and sand becoming obstacles to pedestrians and vehicles.
- We do not recommend drinking tap water without boiling it first.