An insanely intense heat wave has plagued Russia for over one month now and it shows very little sign of letting up. Moscow has experienced at least 26 days in a row with temperatures exceeding 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and those conditions are expected to continue for at least the next several days.
The heat has caused numerous wildfires to break out which has polluted the stagnant air mass beyond control, and in recent days the carbon monoxide count in Moscow peaked at six times more than acceptable levels and record numbers of people are leaving the city to escape the harmful conditions.
For those unfortunate to not escape, the situation is dire. An estimated 5,000 people have already died from heat-related illness in Moscow alone. Local authorities report the daily mortality rate in the city has doubled and morgues are overflowing amid an acrid smog caused by the worst heatwave in Russia's thousand-year history.
According to Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, the current heat wave in Russia has been more intense than the infamous European heat wave of 2003, which killed an estimated 40,000 people. Masters also reports that the fires are the worst since 1972, when massive forest and peat bog fires burned an area of 100,000 square km and killed at 104 people in the Moscow region alone. Smoke from the current fires spans a region over 3,000 km (1,860 miles) from east to west, approximately the distance from San Francisco to Chicago.
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