Showers to give swelter a short break

Forecasts call for a cold front to bring some brief relief from a week-long heat wave as moisture-bearing clouds roll in off the sea over western Kurzeme in the first half of the day, reaching Riga and central Zemgale by mid-day, and Vidzeme and Latgale by afternoon, predicts the state Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre (LVĢMC) Thursday.

The cold front will have morning winds from the south and southeast shifting down from a north-northwesterly direction. Rain showers are expected to be localized but possibly very intense, with wind gusts reaching 8 to 15 meters per second. Towns and cities are on the alert for street and low-lying poor-drainage area flooding, such as the freak storm that hit Sigulda and its surroundings Tuesday, washing out several road surfaces and causing LSM's weatherman Toms Bricis to assume the rainfall measuring instruments had been overwhelmed.

Early morning air temperatures across the land had dipped down to lows between +16 and +22 degrees Celsius.

Kurzeme will see maximum daytime temps between +22 and +29, while the rest of the nation inland could still heat up to highs of +28 and +32 degrees.

While Riga will enjoy a sunny morning, the first thunderheads are expected to arrive in the vicinity of town by mid-day. The afternoon will see scattered heavy showers, possible hailstorms and strong wind gusts, with high temperatures between +28 and +29 degrees.

Swimmers hoping to get a dip in at either Ventspils’ Baltic beach, or Mērsrags’ western Gulf of Riga shore should keep in mind that upwelling has brought extremely chilled waters to the surface, measured by the LVĢMC at 12-13 degrees and 11-12 degrees, respectively.

Forecasts call for the heat wave to return Friday and last another week, with a vengeance.

Despite the recent showers, state Forest Service (VMD) and Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) authorities warn Latvia's rural and wilderness areas remain at a high risk of forest and field fires.

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