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Hate the weather forecast? Blame Russia

Russia's currency crisis has caused Apple to boost iPhone prices, Ikea to suspend sales and regulators in Moscow to slash vodka prices.

But this may be the most unusual fallout yet of the plunging ruble: China's National Meteorological Center warned its weather forecasting abilities may be hampered by Russia's currency problems.


"Our weather forecasts might be less accurate due to the recent fall in Russian ruble," China's National Meteorological Center said on its official Weibo (WB) account, China's version of Twitter (TWTR,Tech30), according to MarketWatch.

If you're saying "huh?" you're not the only one.

The odd message on Weibo was reposted thousands of times in recent days, according to Chinese state media. The weather service was forced to provide an explanation.

It turns out, meteorologists in China use data provided by their neighbors from the north "as a reference" for their own forecasts. Weather in Russia can sometimes have a big impact on China.

Russia's troubles: But it's not a great time to rely on Russia given the country's economic crisis.

The ruble has plunged in recent months due to the one-two punch of a sharp decline oil prices andeconomic sanctions by the West. With Russia's economy expected to shrink by 5% this year, Russia's finance minister recently called for a 10% cut to government spending.

Something has to give, and certain weather forecasting services appear to be on the chopping block.

The Chinese weather service said the economic crisis has caused Moscow to stop radiosonde observations. These small instruments are typically suspended below a large balloon to measure air temperature, pressure and humidity.

Now forecasters in Russia and China have to rely on remote sensing satellites, which can be less accurate than the more localized instruments.

Some Weibo users expressed confusion over the connection between the ruble and weather in China.

"Where is our country's meteorological satellite?" one user asked, according to Chinese state media.

Another asked: "Does it mean the Siberian cold air will pay a visit without knocking the door?"

Earlier this year, weather forecasters in the U.S. were widely criticized for incorrectly predicting ablizzard would bury New York earlier this year. Meteorologists in China are already playing the blame game.

CNNMoney (New York)