In Rēzekne and Zilāni in Latgale province by early afternoon the mercury read +10.6 degrees Celsius, breaking the 1997 record for today’s date, while Jēkabpils showed a +10.3 reading, breaking its previous 1997 record by 1.2 degrees.
Monday afternoon throughout Latvia the high temperatures ranged from +5 to +11 under overcast skies, with slightly sunny conditions breaking through in coastal Kurzeme and partly rainy conditions in the east of the country.
On Sunday the entire land set a warmth record for the date of March 8, with the tip of the horn of Kolka showing the warmest mark at +14.1 degrees under sunny but breezy conditions, giving the springtime highs a spiteful chill regardless of thermometer readings.
While temperatures won't reach quite as high as on Sunday, overcast skies will keep them relatively balmy for the extended forecast this work week as well, according to the EUMETSAT image predicting the next few days of a similar weather pattern.
Along with the early spring-like weather, the first seasonal grass fires have been reported by the fire and rescue services even as ice-fishermen continue to risk their lives and those of rescuers by going out on dangerously thin melted ice surfaces still remaining on some inland ponds, lakes and rivers.
Over the weekend the state Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) received more than fifty calls to out of control fires in the underbrush, the overwhelming bulk of them on Sunday. The largest of the fires in Līvāni region’s Jersika county flamed through six-hectares, one near Talsi was about five-hectares in size, with other two-hectare blazes put out in the Daugavpils area.
Last year there were 4187 such grass fires set deliberately or by accident, an increase of 42% over 2013. In Latgale the problem has grown especially rapidly, with a 3.5-time increase compared to the previous year, totaling almost 4000 hectares of burned-out territory. On a less-blackened note, Kurzeme province managed to reduce its number of grass fires in comparison to the year before.
Meanwhile on Sunday two fishermen out on the thin ice of Lake Lubāns broke through the surface but luckily managed to be rescued to shore before the arrival of VUGD rescuers. Unlike a man in Saldus district last week who perished in Sātiņi pond after the ice failed to hold him and his fishing equipage. VUGD reminds the public that the spring-like weather makes it foolhardy and reckless to go out on any remaining ice cover on water bodies and that it is also important to protect one’s pets from venturing out too far on melting ice.