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    Record number of dangerous natural phenomena hits Russia in 2006

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    This year Russia has registered the highest number of unfavorable and dangerous natural phenomena in the history of meteorological observation, a director of Russia's Hydrometeorology Center said Thursday.

    MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) - This year Russia has registered the highest number of unfavorable and dangerous natural phenomena in the history of meteorological observation, a director of Russia's Hydrometeorology Center said Thursday.

    Roman Vilfand said that between January and November, 371 dangerous natural phenomena - including extreme cold, heat waves, strong winds and driving rains - were registered throughout Russia.

    "The year also ends unusually with the abnormally warm weather in late November and early December, when plants even began to bloom in some areas," Vilfand said.

    Earlier, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring said extreme deviations in weather patterns were observed before, but over the past decade they have become more and more frequent.

    Following near-record low temperatures during last winter's cold spell, which saw the mercury plummet to -31°C (-23.8°F) January 19 - one degree above the all-time low for Moscow - European Russia experienced record warm temperatures this month.

    But Vilfand said this year's unusually warm start of winter in Russia should not be associated with global warming. Rather, he said, the reason for this year's unusual weather was a strong anticyclone over Greenland, which 'orchestrated' the weather over European Russia.

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