Down to -50C: Russians freeze to death as strongest-in-decades winter hits (PHOTOS)
Posted on December 20, 2012 by Akashma Online News
Published on Dec/19/2012 by RT
Russia is enduring its harshest winter in over 70 years, with temperatures plunging as low as -50 degrees Celsius. Dozens of people have already died, and almost 150 have been hospitalized.
The country has not witnessed such a long cold spell since 1938, meteorologists said, with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees lower than the seasonal norm all over Russia.
Across the country, 45 people have died due to the cold, and 266 have been taken to hospitals. In total, 542 people were injured due to the freezing temperatures, RIA Novosti reported.
The Moscow region saw temperatures of -17 to -18 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, and the record cold temperatures are expected to linger for at least three more days. Thermometers in Siberia touched -50 degrees Celsius, which is also abnormal for December.
The Emergency Ministry has issued warnings in 15 regions, which have been put on high alert over possible disruptions of communication and power.
Across the country, heat pipelines have broken down due to the cold. In southeastern Russia’s Samara, the cold has broken down many heat pipelines, leaving hundreds of homes without heating, including an orphanage and a rest house. Many schools and kindergartens have been closed for almost a week.
The cold spell, along with snowfalls, has disrupted flights all over the country, and led to huge traffic jams. In the southern city of Rostov-on-Don some highways were closed due to snowfalls over the past two days, triggering a traffic collapse.
More cold in the capital
Over the weekend, meteorologists predict temperatures will plunge even lower in the Moscow region, hitting -25. The Russian capital is also expected to be swept with snow, RIA Novosti reported.
Temperatures have been 7 degrees lower than the norm for five days already, which is considered an anomaly, according to the Meteonovosti.ru website. The cold spell in the Moscow region is expected to continue for at least three more days.
Due to the high humidity, these freezing temperatures will feel even colder than they actually are, meteorologists explained.
Lowest temperatures in history
The most famous snowstorm in American history, the Blizzard of 1888, has acquired an almost legendary status. Although there have been many heavier snowfalls as well as significantly lower temperatures, the blizzard’s combination of inclement conditions has been unmatched in more than a century.
The U.S. Weather Service defines a blizzard as a storm with winds of more than 35 miles an hour and snow that limits visibility to 500 feet or less. A severe blizzard is defined as having winds exceeding 45 miles an hour, visibility of a quarter mile or less, and temperatures of 10 degrees F or lower.
Major Blizzards in the U.S.
- Jan. 12, Dakota and Montana territories, Minn., Nebr., Kans., and Tex.: “Schoolchildren’s Blizzard” resulted in 235 deaths, many of which were children on their way home from school.
- March 11–14, East Coast: “Blizzard of 1888” resulted in 400 deaths and as much as 5 ft of snow. Damage was estimated at $20 million.
- Jan. 2–4, Nebr., Wyo., S.D., Utah, Colo., and Nev.: Actually one of a series of winter storms between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22. Although only 1 ft to 30 in. of snow fell, fierce winds of up to 72 mph created drifts as high as 30 ft. Tens of thousands of cattle and sheep perished.
- Nov. 25–27, eastern U.S.: “Storm of the Century” generated heavy snow and hurricane-force winds across 22 states and claimed 383 lives. Damages estimated at $70 million.
- Jan. 28–29, Buffalo, N.Y.: “Blizzard of 1977” dumped about 7 in. of new snow on top of 30–35 in. already on the ground. With winds gusting to 70 mph, drifts were as high as 30 ft. Death toll reached 29, and seven western N.Y. counties were declared a national disaster area.
- Feb. 6–8, eastern U.S.: “Blizzard of 1978” battered the East Coast, particularly the Northeast; claimed 54 lives and caused $1 billion in damage. Snowfall ranged from 2–4 ft in New England, plus nearly 2 ft of snow already on the ground from an earlier storm.
- March 12–14, eastern U.S.: “Superstorm” paralyzed the eastern seaboard, causing the deaths of some 270 people. Record snowfalls (with rates of 2–3 in. per hour) and high winds caused $3 billion to $6 billion in damage.
- Jan. 6–8, eastern U.S.: heavy snow paralyzed the Appalachians, the mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast; 187 were killed in the blizzard and in the floods that resulted after a sudden warm-up. Damages reached $3 billion.
- Jan. 1–3, Midwest U.S.: major blizzard and sub-zero temperatures wreak havoc in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio; 73 were killed in the blizzard and transportation systems in the region were paralyzed. Damages reached about $500 million.