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Event Details

Heatwave event report

Category: Heatwave
Observation: 10.08.2010
Continent: Europe
Country: Russia
State:
Area: Statewide
Location:
Severity: Hight
Event details
Russia’s record heat wave may already have taken 15,000 lives and cost the economy $15 billion, or 1 percent of gross domestic product, as fires and drought ravage the country. At least 7,000 people have probably died in Moscow as a result of the heat, and the nationwide death toll is likely to be at least twice that figure, according to Jeff Masters, co- founder of Weather Underground, a 15-year-old Internet weather service that gathers information from around the world. “The Russian population affected by extreme heat is at least double the population of Moscow, and the death toll in Russia from the 2010 heat wave is probably at least 15,000, and may be much higher,” Masters said late yesterday on his blog. Russia’s worst heat wave on record may slice 1 percent off of Russia’s $1.5 trillion economy this year because of lower agricultural output and reduced activity in other areas such as industry, Alexander Morozov, chief economist at HSBC Holdings Plc in Moscow, said in an e-mail today. The country may harvest a third less grain than last year because of drought, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said yesterday. Companies such as automaker OAO AvtoVAZ have curbed production, and restaurants in Moscow are seeing a decline in customers as residents avoid smoke from wildfires that is blanketing the city. While the official death toll from fires in central Russia is 52, the heat and smoke in Moscow have almost doubled the city’s normal death rate to about 700 a day, Andrei Seltsovsky, head of the city’s public health department, said yesterday in a televised news conference. Masters, who has a Ph.D. in air pollution meteorology from the University of Michigan, used those numbers to calculate a nationwide death toll. As many as 50,000 people died during a heat wave in Europe seven years ago, he said. “I expect that by the time the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 is over, it may rival the 2003 European heat wave as the deadliest heat wave in world history,” Masters wrote on his Ann Arbor, Michigan-based website. Russia’s 2010 economic growth may slow to 7 percent from 7.5 percent because of a smaller grain harvest, reduced exports and lower consumer demand as inflation accelerates, Zurich-based UBS AG said yesterday. “Current weather conditions are likely to adversely affect the services sector, and we may see an overall slowdown in economic activity in August,” Anton Nikitin, an analyst at Renaissance Capital in Moscow, said in an e-mailed note. No rain is expected for at least the next week, and the temperature in Moscow may hit 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) today, Rossiya-24 reported. Those conditions may lead to new fires in the Moscow region, one of the worst affected areas, the state-run broadcaster said. Fires across central Russia have destroyed at least 2,000 homes and scorched almost 750,000 hectares (2,900 square miles), according to the government. Construction of houses for people who lost their homes in the Voronezh and Lipetsk regions has begun, according to Rossiya-24 television. The news channel showed video cameras being set up at construction sites after Putin last week said webcams should be installed so he and the public could monitor reconstruction work. Putin met today with Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, according to the government website. The prime minister praised the mayor, 73, for breaking off his vacation to return to the smoke-filled capital and suggested the city help rebuild housing in badly affected regions.
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