Today, January 31, 2023, marks the first morning since January 10 that temperatures will be above freezing the entire day. The month of January this year was historically cold, with temperatures not observed in Tashkent since the winter of 1968-1969. The secondary roads are finally starting to melt! There has been a thick, patchy layer of ice and snow on many of the smaller roads in Tashkent for weeks. The main roads are clear due to heavy traffic. I am looking forward to having clear pavement to drive and walk on. However, with the melting ice and snow and rain, it will be a mess.
I see more severe weather events coming to Central Asia over the coming years. The region is one of the hardest hit areas by climate change with almost a 2 degrees Celcius rise in the annual average temperature. I got this from a study that I can’t find right now, the researchers saw a 0.28 degrees Celcius rise every decade since 1950. The higher temperatures mean more fluctuations in precipitations with droughts and deluges. We’ve had some strange weather since I’ve been here, including a historic rainy/snowy March 2022 and a massive dust storm in November of 2021.
Uzbekistan is suffering from a natural gas shortage with long lines of cars waiting to refill the tanks that propel their vehicles. I am also starting to notice longer lines for gasoline as well. However, I was saved on Sunday when our local gas station, Mustang, ran out of the lower octane grade fuels. As you can see on the sign below, the Octane-80 and Octane-92 were not available and they only had Octane-95 fuel for sale. The lines disappeared as the vast majority of Uzbeks fill their cars with less expensive gasoline. I was able to pull right up to the pump! At 11,000 UZS per liter, that equates to $3.68 USD per gallon. That is slightly above the $3.50 national average price of gasoline per gallon in the USA this week.
It was a quiet weekend after our Lunar New Year holiday in the mountains on Monday and Tuesday. Nadia joined a gymnasium so we went there to swim in the outdoor heated pool and get a workout. I shared a sauna with an Uzbek Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and his posse. I wouldn’t want to mess with those guys. It was nice to see Nadia exercising! We also enjoyed watching Novak Djoković win Major Tournament #22, tieing Raphael Nadal.