Be glad you don’t live in Oymyakon, Russia, where it can get down to -96 degrees
Yeah, it sucks to live on the East Coast this week, especially if you have to do things like go outside occasionally (incidentally, how long can dogs go without peeing? Till spring, right?). But at least you don’t live in Oymyakon, a village in Russia. The average January temperature there is -58 degrees F, and it can get as low as -96.
Oymyakon is the coldest permanently inhabited settlement in the world — in other words, the coldest place that humans are dumb enough to live. According to this video, schools only close if the temperature drops below -62. Although now that they have a new school with indoor toilets, maybe they’ll expect kids to sack up a little more.
Life at those temperatures creates a whole host of problems we never even think about while we’re whining about having to put on long underwear because it’s 5 degrees with wind chill. According to the video, birds in Oymyakon sometimes freeze to death in midflight. Life’s not easy for humans, either, says the Daily Mail:
Daily problems that come with living in Oymyakon include pen ink freezing, glasses freezing to people’s faces and batteries losing power. Locals are said to leave their cars running all day for fear of not being able to restart them.
Even if there was coverage for mobile phone reception the phones themselves would not work in such cold conditions.
Another problem caused by the frozen temperatures is burying dead bodies, which can take anything up to three days. The earth must first have thawed sufficiently in order to dig it, so a bonfire is lit for a couple of hours. Hot coals are then pushed to the side and a hole couple of inches deep is dug. The process is repeated for several days until the hole is deep enough to bury the coffin.
That article and this Flickr set also have a bunch of photos that might make you feel warm by comparison. At very least, they’ll make you think twice before you complain on Twitter about how cold it is in your INDOOR GODDAMN BATHROOM.
Get Grist in your inbox