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Muscovites Advised to Stay Home Due to Cold

The Emergency Situations Ministry on Tuesday called on Moscow region residents to stay indoors, as temperatures were expected to plunge within the next 24 hours.

The ministry said temperatures would drop to between minus 16 C and minus 21 C in the early hours of Wednesday, while the eastern part of the Moscow region would be knocked by a cold snap of minus 26 C.

Six people in the Moscow region suffered from hypothermia in the past few days; one of them died, Interfax reported. Seventy-seven residents were stricken with frost bite, and three were wounded by falling icicles.

But western Russia is experiencing relatively warm weather compared with the rest of the country. Students across the Far East and Siberia have stopped attending schools as temperatures dropped below minus 30 C.

In the Sakha republic village of Oymyakon, considered the coldest permanently inhabited place on earth, temperatures dropped to minus 54.7 C overnight.

As a testament to the freezing cold, last week two elephants almost froze to death on their way to a circus in the Siberian city of Omsk, news reports said.

But thanks to the ingenuity of their trainer, who made them drink two cases of vodka diluted with warm water, the elephants only suffered frostbitten ears.

The city health department recommends battling the cold with hot tea, not vodka, the Interfax report said.

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