Tips&TricksSurviving in the globe's coldest cities. Yakutsk and Oymyakon, the life in perennial winter

Surviving in the globe's coldest cities. Yakutsk and Oymyakon, the life in perennial winter

In these cities, winter never lets up.
In these cities, winter never lets up.
Images source: © Freepik

7:41 AM EST, December 30, 2023

Have you ever wondered about the coldest city on Earth? Many of us grumble about the winter blues, but our winters may feel more like summers compared to certain Siberian conditions. Two cities come to mind: Yakutsk and Oymyakon. Life there piques interest due to the extensive cold.

Winter reigns supreme all year round

If you hark back to your geography lessons, you'll possibly recall Siberia, alias 'the land of frigid temperatures'. Situated approximately 559 miles apart are two cities, Yakutsk and Oymyakon. They're well-accustomed to average temperatures below -58 degrees Fahrenheit. But there's more to their meteorological uniqueness.

Oymyakon, a small town with a population of around 500, has had a history of pastoral inhabitants rearing reindeer, courtesy of the nearby hot springs. The city earned the moniker 'the cold pole' thanks to the lowest recorded temperature: an astounding -96.16 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, resident Oymyakonians are hardened to the cold, so much so that school gets canceled only when temperatures plummet below -61.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Interestingly, the town nestles in a valley approximately 2,460 feet above sea level. A change in seasons brings about a dramatic variation in daylight hours. In December, a short span of three hours defines a day. But come summer, the sun could shine up to 21 hours! Interestingly, the temperature could occasionally cross 86 degrees Fahrenheit from June to August, signifying a massive annual temperature fluctuation.

The art of surviving in the land of perpetual winter

Local lifestyle is understandably adapted to (and by) the harsh weather. Owing to severe frosts, water and sewage systems are a no-show. Even if such infrastructure were in the ground's deeper regions, the water would freeze anyway. Car engines are never turned off to avoid freezing. Similarly, school supplies are prone to freeze, occasionally disrupting children's education.

Leaving home isn't simple either: eyeglasses could freeze to faces, while frost often laces eyelashes and eyebrows. Limbs exposed to such cold temperatures could suffer severe frostbite, and prolonged exposure can yield irreversible health issues. Liquids, including alcohol, freeze solid. Growing plants or vegetables is impractical in backyards due to the extreme cold. Instead, the locals rely on foal meat as their primary diet.

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