Most people grow up to love the winter. The majority of us have fond memories of playing in the snow as children, excitedly waiting on a visit from Father Christmas. For adults, this time of year is still fun, even if we have the added frustration of the weather affecting our day-to-day lives.
But few people know what it’s like to experience a winter so cold that their eyelashes freeze! In the village of Oymyakon in Russia, temperatures of -62°C (-79.6° Fahrenheit) have officially been recorded at the “pole of cold” weather station. However, some thermometers in the are are suggesting that it’s even colder, recording a mind-numbing -67°C. To put that in context, the coldest temperature EVER recorded above ground in the Northern Hemisphere was -67.7 °C. In such cold weather, logic would dictate that anyone wishing to spare themselves from hyperthermia would wrap up warm and only go outside when necessary. However, a group of Chinese tourists decided that it would be a fantastic idea to go swimming in these temperatures. Surprisingly, not everywhere in the village was frozen and the tourists decided to take a dip in the ice-free spring Yeyemu. It’s a complete mystery as to why the water in the spring doesn’t freeze, but after they’d finished swimming, it certainly did – causing their eyelashes to frost over! Local journalist Elena Pototskaya appeared to be simultaneously impressed and horrified by the Chinese tourists’ stupidity and 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 …” In a bit to market itself to tourists, the village of Oymyakon installed a thermometer which unfortunately broke at -62°C, suggesting that its residents’ recordings of -67°C could well be accurate. “It broke because it was too cold,” reported The Siberian Times. Despite the shocking temperatures, life went on as normal in the regional capital of Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city. Featured in the video below is a fully functioning fish market, operating in temperatures of -50°C.
Local resident Vladimir Danilov recorded the video and admitted that, even for him, the temperatures were extreme, saying, “While filming the trading stalls my hands froze to wild pain. And sellers stand here all day long. How do they warm themselves?” Not wanting to let the beauty created by the extreme temperatures go undocumented, photographer Petr Chugunov persuaded a ballerina to perform in temperatures of -41°C, resulting in this stunning picture. However, Russia is not the only country to hit the headlines because of extreme temperatures this January. Last week, a Chinese boy won the hearts of people around the world after walking to school in temperatures of -9°C to sit his exams, something which, shockingly, caused his hair to freeze – much the amusement of his classmates. The 10-year-old was subsequently dubbed “Snowflake Boy”. The boy, whose name has not been disclosed, is in third grade at Zhuanshanbao primary school in Xinjie Township, China. The viral picture of the boy’s hair was taken by the school’s headmaster, Fu Heng, who also took a picture of his hands after being out in the cold. “It was the first day of their final exams,” Fu said. “The temperatures dropped to minus nine degrees Celsius in about 30 minutes that morning.” Fu revealed that the boy lives a distance from the rural school and has to walk an hour to get there each day. He lives with his siblings and elderly relatives in a mud hut because his parents work in cities where wages are higher. As the school is in a rural place, it does not have enough funds to pay for heating in its classrooms. It does, however, provide its pupils with breakfast, but thanks to the boy’s photograph, it could soon be providing them with a lot more! After the image went viral on social media, a staggering 2,159,100.58 yuan (£245,000/$336,000) was donated to the boy and his school by Chinese people who admired his commitment to his education. “Study hard to change your destiny. I believe you can,” wrote one user on Weibo.