The electronic thermometer froze in the world’s coldest town this week after temperatures dipped to -62 C.
Oymyakon (which translates to “the water that doesn’t freeze”) is a village in Northern Russia with around 500 permanent residents. This week, the town’s electronic thermometer, which had been installed last year as a tourist attraction, died after registering -62 C. The Siberian Times reported that the thermometer broke, “because it was too cold.”
It also reported that there was some dispute as to exactly how cold it got; while the official weather station registered -59 C, some locals said that their readings were as low as -67. This extreme cold snap comes in the middle of what is on track to be Russia’s darkest winter on record, with Moscow experiencing only 6 minutes of sunshine during the month of December.
Oymyakon is officially the coldest permanent settlement anywhere on Earth. While January’s average temperature is a comparatively-balmy -50 C, a recording taken in 1933 put the temperature at -67.7 C. Although the coldest temperature ever recorded on earth was almost 20 degrees lower (−89.2 °C, at a Soviet station in Antarctica), Oymyakon’s 1933 reading is still the chilliest temperature recorded in a place where people actually live year-round.
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