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Geographical Position and Climate
Saint-Petersburg - one of the largest northern cities in the world, occupying an area of nearly 1500 sq kilometers, is situated on the coast of the Gulf of Finland in the delta of the Neva River, which splits into three main branches: the Bolshaya Neva, the Malaya Neva and the Bolshaya Nevka. The city's main waterway the Neva River, being 74 kilometers long, flowing for 32 kilometers within the city, 600 meters wide and 24 meters deep, together with nearly 100 other rivers, canals and straits covers 10% of the city area. Standing on 42 islands in the delta of Neva River, Saint-Petersburg is only a few feet above the sea level that is why the city has always lived under the thread of flooding, which was realized 300 times since the city's foundation.
Located to the southeast of Helsinki (600 km) and to the northwest of Moscow (650 km), St.Petersburg measures 44 km from north to south and 25 km from east to west and lies on the same latitude as the Shetland Islands and Anchorage, Alaska, but its climate is less harsh than one would imagine, moderate by warm air blowing from the Atlantic Ocean. St. Petersburg is characterized by the sea climate, quite mild and humid with frequent fogs and rains. Rapid changes in weather are characteristic in every season.
Summers with baking hot days and sultry nights last from the beginning of June to early September. From the 25th of May till the 20th of July is the most popular period among visitors, who are sucked in the intensity of life during the "White Nights", when the city barely sleeps and the darkness falls for only about 40 minutes.
By mid-September autumn is underway, with cloudy skies and falling temperatures. The first frost and sometimes snowfalls are as frequent in October as sunny and warm days, when the city looks especially beautiful in the soft northern light.
Before winter officially begins in December, the city is covered with the blanket of snow, rivers freeze over, and temperatures fall below 0°C. Although by Western European standards winters in St.Petersburg may be cold, they rarely compare with the ferocious cold of winter in Moscow, let alone Siberia. According to statistics, February is the coldest month, but the severest frosts (25° below zero) fall on the end of January.
Spring coming is unpredictable as well. The fabulous sight of the Neva ice-floes breaking up and flowing through the heart of the city may not occur until April, or even May. So one can easily say that winter in St.Petersburg, starting actually in November, lasts until the middle of March.
The longest day of the year is June 22, the Solstice Day, which lasts 18 hours 53 minutes, while the shortest day is December 22 is only 5 hours 52 minutes.
Average monthly temperatures (Co) in St.Petersburg: