As any Brit will tell you, the weather is just one of the things we can’t rely on, other than to break the ice of course. As Frank Hubbard, an American humorist, said, ‘Don't knock the weather, 90% of people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while.’
So too as it is in Kazakhstan.
If you don’t know the Kazakhstan weather it would pay you to check it out before you arrive, or you may spend a lot of your holiday shopping
for suitable clothes. Kazakhstan is five times the size of France therefore not home to a single climate, and although most visitors arrive in the milder south, other reaches of the country may have completely different weather conditions. The most comfortable months are April to October, but if you’re coming at a different time, that’s OK, provided you’re well prepared.
There is so much to do
in Kazakhstan, perhaps you’re into skiing, or hiking, or cycling? How about mountain climbing, fishing, off-roading or simply picnicking in the hills? Whatever your interests, check the weather forecast beforehand and take it seriously. Although the weather changes here, it is easier to predict than in many countries and therefore forecasts can be a good guide.
Spring may live up to its name and spring surprises with unpredictable and sudden changes in the weather. At this time, you may go out in a t-shirt one day and the next day in the coat you had put away for next winter. Spring comes at different times in different regions but tends to be a variation on the late-February theme with the north coming in about a month later until which time it can be covered in ice and snow, long after the roads have been well cleared in the south. Temperatures by day in the latter region can be 16-18°C with night frosts ceasing in late April and early May.
The following is typical of a spring day in Kazakhstan:
In the morning, you’re full of the joys of spring, appropriately enough, even though it is Monday. You’re full of energy, business ideas, and ways to put them into action. Nature is blooming and people busy themselves getting ready for the year ahead. National Women’s Day falls in spring, and March 8th sees the biggest day of buying and selling flowers you can imagine. Nauryz is coming, the excitement is tangible, and women and begin to hang out on the terraces and patios of local bars
Summer is a great time for outdoor activities in Kazakhstan. People escape the heat of the summer in the scenic mountain terrains or the many lakes, rivers, and streams. Perhaps raft down the river, walk the scenic trails, or ride on horseback excursions. Traffic jams ease in summer because of the school holidays, in turn leading to people planning their summer breaks for a dip in the blue sea or a cool pool.
From May till about mid-September summer graces the land with air temperatures ranging from 38°C in the north to 46°C in the south. This can admittedly lead to windy storms, but they are generally short-lived, and in some ways part of the seasonal beauty. Humidity is generally low and average seasonal temperatures can be equally comfortable, depending on the area, anything from 19°C to 30°C on a daily basis. The rains mainly fall on the eastern plains while the steppes tend to be warmer.
Autumn is especially beautiful in Kazakhstan, just like the denouement of a fascinating stage play the subplots come together to complete a beautiful story. Features of all the other seasons come together autumn, the summer heat, spring coolness and beauty, and, yes, beautiful white snow may arrive and blanket the earth. This wonderland lasts till mid-October.
September sees the onset of Autumn which starts in the north and spreads down through the country during the month of October, at which time the whole country experiences the first night-time sub-zero temperatures, while the seasonal daytime rains suggest that the overall temperatures are yet to fall below freezing point. The arid areas will not get too cold and may remain sunny, but mountainous areas tend to be wetter and mistier.
The main signs of autumn in Kazakhstan:
Wherever you look, you will see white bows and socks, white shirts and ties, flower bouquets in the hands of children for their first or favourite teacher. It’s a beautiful time to take a walk, to enjoy the rustle of leaves, the beautiful scenery, and cool weather. The stalls of the bazaars display plenty of juicy fruits and vegetables, a veritable feast of colour. Autumn is also the season of exhibitions and conferences in Kazakhstan.
Winter is severe in Kazakhstan and you will need your warmest clothing. As well as sitting by the fireplace in the comfort of their home, people in Kazakhstan engage in winter leisure activities to take advantage of the snow, like ice skating, skiing and snowboarding.
The north welcomes the winter first and in these areas it is harsher and sadly without so many facilities to enjoy it, such as Shymbulak Ski Resort in Almaty. North-easterly temperatures can drop as low as minus 54°C with additional wind chill factor. This is most in evidence in January, although be reassured that most widely habited areas are warmer. Minus 20°C is perhaps a reasonable estimate for an average Almaty winter temperature by night, while daytime the mercury would register about ten degrees warmer. In any case, wrap up warm. Astana, the capital is a rival to Chicago’s tag as the windy city, with breezes coming into the city from across the steppes, minus 50°C plus wind of this nature require careful planning if coming in winter.
The main signs of winter in Kazakhstan are:
Getting out of bed becomes more of a chore, you struggle to wake up in the morning, lazily hiding under the blanket and ignoring your alarm clock. The sound of snow crunches under the feet and its enchanting flakes fall from the sky. You dream of going to a coffee shop
and enjoy a double cappuccino or latte.
Graph source: www.myweather2.com