spare a thought for the people of the village of Oymyakon in Russia.
Temperatures there have dropped to as low as -62°C, according to one thermometer, cold enough to freeze people’s eyelashes.
The official weather station at the ‘pole of cold’ registered minus 59°C, but locals said their readings were as low as minus 67°C – less than 1°C off the lowest accepted temperature for a permanent settlement anywhere in the world, recorded in the same village in 1933.
None of this stopped a group of resilient Chinese visiting Oymyakon from peeling down to their underwear in the blistering conditions and taking a splash in a mysterious pool fed by a spring that never freezes in the village.
They won admiration from local journalist Elena Pototskaya who wrote: ‘Today at the Pole of Cold in Oymyakon – in a 65-degree frost – Chinese tourists swim in the ice-free spring Yeyemu.
‘This does not freeze even in severe frosts in Oymyakon. Horror – us locals are afraid to go out in such a cold. And here … the tourists are swimming …’ Meanwhile, a girl demonstrated the natural mascara that forms in extreme cold.
The digital thermometer was installed last year to help Oymyakon market itself to tourists, but it gave up the ghost at minus 62C. ‘It broke because it was too cold,’ reported The Siberian Times.
Elsewhere life went on as normal in the Siberian freezer. Video shows an outdoor fish market fully functioning at a temperature of minus 50°C in regional capital Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city.
Resident Vladimir Danilov made the film while going to buy whitefish to make local dish stroganina. This is a popular dish if indigenous people in northern Siberia – thin slices, eaten raw.
Vladimir admitted: ‘While filming the trading stalls my hands froze to wild pain. And sellers stand here all day long. How do they warm themselves?’ A girl is seen on a video brushing snow from a hardy local Yakut horse in temperatures nudging minus 60°C.
Only one brave cyclist was seen commuting to work in the biting cold spell. But photographer Petr Chugunov persuaded a ballerina to perform outside in minus 41°C. In 1933, a temperature of minus 67.7°C was recorded in Oymyakon, accepted as the lowest ever in the northern hemisphere.
Lower temperatures are recorded in Antarctica, but here there are no permanently inhabited settlements.