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4 Jan, 2024 21:38

Extreme winter cold grips Russia (VIDEOS)

Temperatures could drop to -54C in some parts of the country
Extreme winter cold grips Russia (VIDEOS)

Record breaking cold temperatures have triggered weather emergencies in half a dozen regions of Russia, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, and disrupted air and rail travel throughout the country.

On Thursday, thermometers in Moscow showed -26 degrees Celsius, with the forecast expecting a low of -31 overnight and a high of -12C on Friday. The Russian capital has been put on an ‘orange weather alert’ through January 6.

Temperatures in St. Petersburg dropped to -27C on Thursday, while the northern part of Leningrad Region saw a cold snap as low as -36C.

Lows of -35C were expected on Thursday in the central regions of Russia – Vladimir, Ivanovo, Kostroma, Tver, and Yaroslavl – while -40C was predicted for Sverdlovsk Region. The unusual cold will spread to 70% of the country in the coming days and will not let up before January 10, the federal weather service has announced.

In some parts of Russia, temperatures could reach -54C.

As of Thursday evening, 11 flights have been delayed or canceled at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport and five at Vnukovo. There were no cancellations or delays at Domodedovo and Zhukovsky.

The frost has also led to problems with rail traffic. Six trains were stopped in Chelyabinsk Region in the Urals. While some social media outlets have reported problems with heating and food running out, the railways said they would maintain a “comfortable temperature regime” on board and provide meals for everyone in Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk.

A Lastochka electric train became stuck in Vladimir Region, en route from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod, after it lost power in -30 C frost. Some 300 passengers were reported “trapped in ice” for almost three hours. 

As electric heaters worked overtime to cope with the cold, at least 20 rural settlements in Moscow Region reported power supply interruptions, clogging the Telegram channels of local authorities with complaints. 

The Zaoksky district in Tula Region has been without power for several days, as outside temperatures dropped to -25C.

The harsh cold snap did have a silver lining in Moscow, where a “winter rainbow” was spotted on Thursday. As water vapor freezes in the extreme cold, light refracts off the resulting ice needles for a spectacular visual.