Prague experiences hottest year on record

A young western lowland gorilla Richard eats frozen fruits in its enclosure at Prague Zoo during a heatwave. 

A young western lowland gorilla Richard eats frozen fruits in its enclosure at Prague Zoo during a heatwave. 

PRAGUE - The Czech capital Prague has experienced its hottest year since records started in 1775, the weather institute said.  

"In 2018, the average annual temperature in Prague-Clementium was 12.8 degrees Celsius (55.04 Fahrenheit), or 3.2 degrees more compared to the average between 1775-2014," the Hydrometeorological Institute said in a statement that referred to its historic Clementinum weather station at a former Jesuit college in the Czech capital.

The institute described this year's temperature as being "extraordinarily above normal".

The previous record annual average temperature in Prague, 12.5 degrees Celsius, was set in 2014 and 2015.

The institute had already noted record heat this summer, with average daytime temperatures hitting 22.7 degrees Celsius (72.5 Fahrenheit) at its Clementinum weather station.

A summer drought affected 94 percent of the central European country, causing widespread crop damage.

Farmers across Europe, including in usually wetter northern regions such as Sweden and the Baltic states, also suffered from record heat and drought this summer.