MOSCOW (Reuters) – Temperatures in parts of Siberia dropped to minus 56 degrees Celsius (69 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday as blizzards blanketed Moscow, bringing record snowfall and disrupting flights as wintry weather swept across Russia.
In the Republic of Sakha, located in the northeastern part of Siberia and home to the city of Yakutsk, one of the coldest cities in the world, temperatures dropped to below minus 50 degrees Celsius, according to meteorological stations in the region.
In Oymyakon, a district in Sakha, the temperature was recorded at minus 56 degrees Celsius on Monday evening.
Russian meteorologists said the temperature will feel more than minus 60 degrees Celsius in Oymyakon due to the wind and humidity, and that temperatures will drop further overnight.
The Russian National Meteorological Service said: “In the European part of Russia, in the Ural and Siberian regions, frost is expected to increase in the first week of December.”
Almost all of Sakha region is located in the permafrost zone. In the region’s capital, Yakutsk, located about 5,000 kilometers east of Moscow, the temperature ranged from minus 44 degrees Celsius to minus 47 degrees Celsius.
Temperatures below minus 50 degrees Celsius have become less common in recent years due to climate change, with permafrost showing increasing signs of thawing.
In the Russian capital, some of the heaviest snowfalls ever fell on December 3, covering large areas of Moscow with layers of snow more than 35 centimeters thick in just one day.
Flights were delayed at some Moscow airports.
Temperatures in Moscow and the area surrounding the capital are expected to drop to around minus 20 degrees Celsius later this week. Temperatures in the Ural Mountains are expected to drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius this week.
(Reporting by Lydia Kelly in Melbourne and Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow) Editing by Jamie Freed and Gareth Jones
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