Astana is the second coldest capital city in the world after Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a position formerly held by Canada's capital, Ottawa, until Astana attained capital city status in 1998. Astana has an extreme continental climate with warm summers (featuring occasional brief rain showers) and long, very cold, dry winters. Summer temperatures occasionally reach +35°C (95°F) while −30 °C (−22 °F) to −35 °C (−31 °F) is not unusual between mid-December and early March. The city also holds the record for the lowest air temperature ever recorded in Kazakhstan (-51°C). Typically, the city's river freezes over between the second week of November and the beginning of April. Astana has a well deserved reputation amongst Kazakhstanis for its frequent high winds, the effect of which are felt particularly strongly on the fast-developing but relatively exposed Left Bank area of the city.
Overall, Astana has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb), bordering on a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk). The average annual temperature in Astana is 3.5 °C (38.3 °F). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of −14.2 °C (6 °F). July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 20.8 °C (69 °F)