Sara and John say...
This largely land-locked collection of Central Asian countries - compromising Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan - possess a climate of arid extremes. Without the tempering influence of nearby oceans, the weather is characteristically dry for much of the year. Winters get very cold but, conversely, summer days can get extremely hot.
The southern third of Kazakhstan, western two-thirds of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and both the eastern and western thirds of Kyrgyzstan can be described as desert. Not only does the temperature vary dramatically from summer to winter, the contrast is also reflected from day to night. Clear skies prevail, interspersed by infrequent and unreliable showers and winter snow-flurries.
Elsewhere there is rather more rain, allowing sometimes ‘steppe-like’ vegetation to flourish in spring and early summer. As humidity builds through the months that follow, occasional brief thunderstorms rumble across the plains.
The summer is warm and sticky, when temperatures can reliably soar into the 30s Celsius by day. And be warned - the mugginess brings out the midges, especially near bodies of water!
However a fresh chill soon returns by late September, with a dramatic fall in temperatures through autumn.
Fog and low cloud can prove persistent as the days shorten, and by winter, a freeze prevails by day and night.
The cold can be extreme, with the mercury falling below -30 Celsius during some mid-winter periods from December to February, accompanied by occasional falls of snow and biting winds.
However, with appropriate layers, there’s beauty amidst the frozen landscape on a pristine, sunny winter’s day.