All news

Russia’s Yakutia braces for deep freeze as temperatures expected to plunge below minus 50

YAKUTSK, January 9. /TASS/. Temperatures in Yakutia have dropped to 45 degrees Celsius below zero and are still plunging.

The emergency services in that part of Russia’s far northeast region, some 4,900 kilometers (about 3,045 miles) east of Moscow, are being placed on high alert and schools have cancelled classes. Nonetheless, these extreme temperatures are not anything out of the blue for local residents.

A bout of bone-chilling cold hit the north, northeast and the central part of the region. On Wednesday, weather gurus registered temperatures below minus 45 degrees Celsius in 12 locations. The lowest temperature of minus 48 degrees was recorded in the village of Dzhardzhan in Yakutia’s north.

"We are on alert," the regional emergency services told TASS. They are focusing their priorities on regional roads and so-called winter roads (on frozen lakes and rivers).

"Taking into consideration the enormous distances between inhabited localities, we advise drivers against long-distance trips without accompanying vehicles," the emergency services told TASS. "Drivers should be very careful about their car’s operational condition, thermal insulation and about enough supplies of fuel, as a breakdown in taiga or tundra might cost them their lives. Visiting long-distance truck drivers should bear in mind the conditions in Yakutia."

Classes at some schools were canceled due to severely frigid temperatures. Winter holidays were extended at primary schools in the regional capital of Yakutsk and some other areas. Classes at primary schools are usually cancelled when thermometers hit minus 45 degrees Celsius, at junior high schools when it’s minus 48 degrees and at high schools when the temperatures plunge below 50 degrees.

Cold but not frozen over

Life in Yakutia does not come to a grinding halt due to extreme temperatures. With a Christmas tree and snowy slides decorating its main square, Yakutsk is crowded with children and teenagers, who enjoy outdoor activities in spite of the thick icy fog and biting frost.

Italian policeman Paolo Venturini arrived in Yakutsk on Monday to set a record in the coldest marathon race held in Yakutia’s Oymyakon district. On Wednesday, he did his first workout in the city park.

"I have been jogging for about an hour. I feel fine and comfortable," he told TASS noting that he had been training for this bitterly cold marathon for a long time. A doctor, an interpreter, a support group and camera operators will escort the Italian. He intends to set his record when harsh 60-degree frosts engulf Oymyakon, one of the coldest inhabited places on earth.

In the northern hemisphere, the pole of cold is believed to be located in Tomtor in Yakutia’s Oymyakon. In February 1933, temperatures were documented at minus 67.7 degrees Celsius. Temperatures there average around minus 61 degrees in January, but that hasn’t stopped people from constantly living and working in that sub-zero climate.