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a river in the Latvian SSR formed by the confluence of the Mēmele and Mūŝa rivers. Length, 119 km; basin area, 17,600 sq km. It flows along the Central Latvian Lowland. In its lower course, the Lielupe flows for about 30 km parallel to the coast of the Gulf of Riga. It flows into the Gulf of Riga, although one of its branches flows into the Daugava River. It is fed by snow and rain water. The average flow rate 110 km from the mouth is 63 cu m per sec.
The Lielupe freezes over in December and becomes free of ice at the end of March. In winter, ice blockage often occurs because of thawing. In summer, rains cause flash floods. The Lielupe is navigable. The city of Jelgava is situated on the Lielupe. The health resorts of the Riga seacoast, which have been consolidated into the city of Jūrmala, lie on the river’s lower course.