Because Kazakstan is so far from the oceans, the climate is sharply continental and very dry. Precipitation in the mountains of the east averages as much as 600 millimeters per year, mostly in the form of snow, but most of the republic receives only 100 to 200 millimeters per year. Precipitation totals less than 100 millimeters in the south-central regions around Qyzylorda. A lack of precipitation makes Kazakstan a sunny republic; the north averages 120 clear days a year, and the south averages 260. The lack of moderating bodies of water also means that temperatures can vary widely. Average winter temperatures are -3°C in the north and 18°C in the south; summer temperatures average 19°C in the north and 28°-30°C in the south. Within locations differences are extreme, and temperature can change very suddenly. The winter air temperature can fall to -50°C, and in summer the ground temperature can reach as high as 70°C.
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