Authorities have brought artificial snow to central Moscow for New Year celebrations as the Russian capital experiences the highest December temperatures in more than a century.
Moscow broke an 1886 record earlier this month, reaching 5.4 degrees Celsius on Dec. 18. Average temperatures for the month are usually below minus 6 degrees. Forecasts for the New Year holiday, Russia's main festive celebration, predict rain instead of snow.
Muscovites posted pictures of heaps of snow in Zaryadye Park and Tverskaya Street on social media Friday and over the weekend.
“It’s not festive at all,” one resident dressed as the fairy tale snow maiden Snegurochka said.
“It’s already turned beige or gray,” said another resident, dressed as Russia’s version of Santa Claus.
The snow came from the city's ice rinks and will be used to create snowboarding slopes, First Deputy Director of the Mayor's Office Alexei Nemeryuk told Interfax.
The lack of snow has also caused flowers to bloom early at Moscow State University's Apothecary
Garden. Snowdrops and rhododendrons there mistook the soft soil for the onset of spring.
An atmospheric front from the Atlantic Ocean has caused the unseasonable warmth.
Russia remains a relatively climate-skeptic nation, with recent polls saying that less than half of Russians believe climate change poses a major threat to their country.
Moscow also suffered the coldest summer on record in 2019, with August temperatures falling to 12 degrees Celsius.
Reuters contributed reporting to this article.