The Big Picture
Exceptional water surpluses are forecast in north central Kazakhstan; farther west between the Ural and Emba Rivers northeast of the Caspian Sea; and along rivers elsewhere in Kazakhstan. Exceptional surpluses are also forecast in the Volga River Basin in Russia, northwest of Kazakhstan. Surpluses of varying severity are forecast in northern Kyrgyzstan. Deficits are forecast throughout Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, with both deficits and surpluses in some areas.
Flooding in Kazakhstan and Russia produced acts of heroism, biblical imagery, and even product endorsements.
Citizens in the southern Russian city of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea rescued an unconscious cyclist trapped by debris in swirling, muddy floodwaters glistening with industrial liquids as cars bobbed helplessly along. When the waters receded schools of fish were left stranded on the shore.
In Almaty, Kazakhstan the driver of a Tesla Model S car - with its sealed electric components and battery, plus thrust via the wheels’ rotation - successfully motored through a flooded tunnel like James Bond, passing stalled vehicles and then driving away once he hit dry pavement. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the model is, temporarily, capable of amphibious behavior.
An analysis of satellite data indicates that wildfires in Russia are being under-reported by authorities. According to Greenpeace Russia wildfires have burned up to 3.5m hectares since the start of 2016, while the head of the federal forestry agency told state news agency RIA Novosti that only 669,000 hectares have burned. Russia's catastrophic fire seasons of 2010 and 2012, associated with record-high temperatures and drought, caused respiratory illnesses, death, and crop losses.
The 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month period show the evolving conditions in more detail.
Moderate to severe water deficit conditions are forecast to emerge in Kazakhstan from September through February, and as they do the aforementioned areas of surplus in the country show both deficit and surplus. Deficits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are expected to persist but with diminished severity after August.
(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)
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