“We are exhausted from this weather”: cold weather hits harvest in Tatarstan

Berry pickers are calculating losses at millions of rubles, cucumbers are going missing in gardens, wheat harvest is shifting

The end of July was marked for cold weather, which is unusual for residents of Tatarstan and the European part of Russia. According to weather forecasts, the thermometer was going to be just 6-7 degrees, which is anomalously cold for the middle of summer and critically bad for agriculture. Tatarstan agriculturists are in despair — many are expecting losses till a complete loss of harvest. We are pinning our hopes only for August, which can turn out warm, but it isn’t a fact. Realnoe Vremya found out the reasons for temperature falls in the central part of Russia.

Northern wind

The cold weather Realnoe Vremya warned about as early as last week arrived in Tatarstan. Now the temperature of the air in Kazan is 12 degrees, the thermometer will fall to 6-7 degrees at night. However, the first two summer months in Tatarstan and neighbouring regions were gloomy in general. Moreover, residents of Western Europe are suffering from the scorching heat.

As Research Fellow of the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences Robert Nigmatullin explained to Realnoe Vremya, cold air masses came here from the north and didn’t let hot air that covered Western Europe in.

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“Cold spell always comes from the north. There was a block that doesn’t let warm air in, and cold air comes here. Moreover, this is happening amid general global warming: we see an awful heat in Western Europe now. And the northern influence is blocked for Europe: hot air goes there from the south,” the oceanologist notes.

Head specialist of the Meteorological Bureau of Moscow Tatiana Pozdnyakova is sure that such weather isn’t characteristic for the end of July, as the last days of this month in our climate are the warmest. However, once in 5-7 years colder air penetrates in the European part of Russia on the last days of July for at least 1-2 days.

“We have had a high altitude cyclone whose system included a southern cyclone too,” she says. “As a result, the trough of high altitude cyclone is stretched far from the north to the south, and the penetration of cold air, at least in the eastern half of the European part of Russia, turned out very intensive and going far. This is why the air temperature fell by 10 degrees almost within a day — from Sunday to Monday — both at a height of 1,500 kilometres and on the land.”

Hope for warm August

In Pozdnyakova’s opinion, the high altitude cyclone will maintain, cold weather will persist in the European part of Russia. However, the weather must change (that’s to say, in early August).

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“Hydrodynamic models show that this high altitude cyclone will change its location by the end of the week, spin in the north of the European part of Russia. However, it will be filled. Atmospheric pressure will increase, the objection of cold weather will gradually stop, and then the process of transformation will begin,” Pozdnyakova explained to Realnoe Vremya.

Robert Nigmatullin also confirms her words. He thinks that August must compensate for the July cold spell.

“I think August will be hot because July was cold, while seasonal fluctuations in regions total fractions of degrees. This is why this must be compensated somehow,” the scientist says.

“We are losing up to 100% of the harvest”

Farmers, especially those who plant heat-loving crops, are suffering from the falls in temperature this summer the most. For instance, businessman from Zelenodolsk, owner of Berry Valley strawberry plantation Ildar Sitdikov complained Realnoe Vremya about big losses this summer. The farmer expected this cold weather with fear:

“We are very scared. If the temperature falls to +5 degrees, all of our strawberry flowers die, it is ruinous for us. We already had it in early June when the temperature fell to +2 degrees, and now again. We are exhausted from this weather, to be honest, simply exhausted. We are losing up to 100% of the harvest. Of course, we collected something this summer, but far from what we had planned. The damage is our irreparable, we haven’t counted how much it cost, but it is too much,” the farmer is upset.

Given the very unstable weather in summer in Tatarstan, the company decided to put all its strawberry fields under the roof. “Yes, now we are switching to greenhouses. We won’t plant strawberry in open soil. These falls have tortured us,” Sitdikov complained. Greenhouses for strawberry have already been built on 5 hectares.

Crops in Tatarstan fields are also suffering from the cold summer. Wheat, maize, sunflower and other crops don’t have the time to mature. Harvest time is shifting.

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“There will be a delay in harvesting. This will shift the deadlines because sunbeams help wheat to get mature. And as there is such anomalous weather, it will delay the ripening. The deadlines will shift by two weeks at least, and this time may be not enough for such late crops as sunflower and maize to ripe because of the fall in temperature. We hope for August, it is promised that there will be enough number of days with good temperature. Nevertheless, two weeks is much for our zone,” Chairman of the Association of Farmers and Peasants’ Households of Tatarstan Kamiyar Baytemirov explained to Realnoe Vremya.

According to him, the cold weather didn’t allow having a good harvest of berries across the republic. And if the temperature falls to +4, +6 degrees (+6 was forecasted on 31 July night), cucumbers will also suffer. Many gardeners are already complaining about losing the harvest of this plant.

P.S. After publication, we received the answer of the administration of the Weather Centre of Tatarstan to Realnoe Vremya’s request about the cold spell in the republic:

“Nowadays the European part of Russia and Western Siberia turn out at the mercy of a deep extensive northern cyclone. Cold and humid arctic air is falling in the back part of this cyclone from the north and northwest towards the continent. Cold rainy weather has been reining on the territory of the Republic of Tatarstan. The maximum daytime air temperature will be +12…+17 degrees. There won’t be significant changes in the weather in Tatarstan during the week. The temperature is expected to be low: from +5 to +11 degrees at night, from +12 to +18 degrees during the daytime. Rains and strong winds, north-western wind are expected at times.

July is traditionally the hottest month, and in most cases, the average monthly temperature is close average and above average. Considering the last days of the month, this July the average temperature is expected to be about one degree below average. Such a temperature regime in July is rarely seen: for the fourth time in the last 20 years (previously in 2005, 2006, 2014, 2015).

By Timur Rakhmatullin, Vasilya Shirshova, Lina Sarimova

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