KYIV, Ukraine – As the world’s attention is on the eastern European nation of Ukraine, military planners and relief organizations are keeping a close eye on the weather that in many areas of the Northern Hemisphere is in its annual transition period.
The country of usually around 44 million residents is located on the European Plain, meaning that temperatures only moderate slightly during the month of March.
Data provided by the World Bank shows lows are usually in the upper 20s, and highs make it into the 40s on the Fahrenheit scale.
Because of the chilly temperatures, the Red Cross is providing home heating fuels to impacted populations.
The continued cold temperatures have an impact on whether precipitation falls in the form of rain or snow.
Meteorologists say it is not uncommon to see both during March and the frequency of the storm systems can be dependent on whether an El Niño or La Niña weather pattern is in control.
According to the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, an El Niño event typically provides drier than average weather in Ukraine and Europe.
The Climate Centre said droughts during the El Niño years of 2003 and 2007 cost the country around $5.3 billion in damages, mostly centered around the country’s significant agriculture industry.
The Central Intelligence Agency reports Ukraine’s fertile black soil helps produce substantial quantities of meat, milk, grain and other vegetables.
Trade experts say agricultural lands cover around 70 percent of the country.
The world is currently experiencing a La Niña event, which typically increases moisture over the European continent.
As the region progresses towards its annual thaw season, any increase in precipitation could prove to be problematic to transportation.
Ret. Gen. Jack Keane, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War and the senior strategic analyst for FOX News, warned in February that unpaved roads could turn muddy and bog down military equipment, especially during the thaw season in mid-to-late March.
Precipitation usually peaks during the late spring and early summer months, but monthly average rainfall amounts are usually below three inches.