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'That time Barnaul was undoubtedly the most cultural corner of Siberia. I named it Siberian Athens'
Pyotr Tyan-Shanskiy, 1856

Winter comes to southern Siberia - but will it last?

By The Siberian Times reporter
06 January 2014

The weirdest winter for decades takes a cold turn but milder weather is on the way again.

Wether the weather be fine... Russian photographer took this stunning images on a unique never-freezing Svetloe lake in Altai region in southern SIberia. Picture: Alexander Tyryshkin 

Even in more northerly towns and cities, seasonal temperatures are significantly above average, though Yakutsk and Norilsk were well below minus 40C at the weekend. Northerly latitudes plummeted as low as minus 55C, it was reported.

This is what locals expect, but there has been a shortage of such cold this winter. The unusually mild temperatures in Siberia's main population belt took a sudden dive, too, with a 20C to 25C drop in many places, but it is not forecast to stay cold. 

Tomsk - where locals recently paraded in swim wear to mock the 'warm' weather -  was forecast to drop to minus 42C on Monday. Siberia's largest city Novosibirsk was at minus 28C on Sunday evening. Irkutsk dropped to minus 33C yet the ice on nearby Lake Baikal is not as solid as usual. 

A Lada Niva vehicle fell through the ice on Saturday. One man escaped as it sank but two more were missing presumed drowned in the Severo-Baikalsky district of Buryatia. Locals say it is safe to drive cars over the world's oldest and deepest lake if the thickness of the ice is 30cm or more. 

'Temperatures will be as low as minus 52C on the Taymyr peninsula, minus 50C in the Turukhansk district and down to minus 55C in Evenkia, a vast Siberian region in the Krasnoyarsk Territory,' explained Itar-Tass news agency based on information from the Hydrometeorological Federal Sevice of Russia. 

Further south, the mountainous Altai Republic reached minus 28C. Yet a winter which has seen a distinct dearth of snow, with winter in Krasnoyarsk resembling a mild autumn, and the Ob River in December looking as if spring had arrived with ice flowing rapidly downstream, is poised for more surprises.

Forecasters suggest daytime temperatures in Irkutsk will be only minus 6C early next week, with Krasnoyarsk expected to be at minus 1C, and Novosibirsk and Tomsk at minus 3C. Norilsk's cold blast could ease to minus 14C while Yakutsk - the world's coldest city - is due to remain below minus 40C for the next week. 

See our report on the Swan Lake of Siberia http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/casestudy/news/the-breathtaking-real-life-swan-lake-in-siberia/

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