Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Freezing in Moscow

This is our third winter in Russia. Yet, this is our first time experiencing really freezing weather. I mean, the past two years, winter was relatively mild, by Moscow standards, at the coldest, it was around -10, and when it did go much below that, we were vacationing back home near the Equator. So we never got to experience what minus 20deg C actually felt like.

Well, this year, I felt that winter has been pretty warm, but as it turned out, temperatures dipped significantly this week. Today, when I went out to the mall, it was minus 17C, and that was at noon. Tomorrow, the weather forecast says maximum temperature will be minus 22C. A Singaporean friend who used to work in Moscow had said walking out of a building in to minus 20C temperature felt like he was being punched in the face. Yikes!

Our predecessors did tell us that when temperatures dip below minus 10C, the weather is actually really gorgeous. It'll be sunny and bright, just extremely cold. It's when the temperature hovers between minus 10C and plus 10C that everything looks dull, dreary and depressing. They were right.

This picture of Sean outside school was taken last week when temperature was around minus 6C. The sky is dull, not a tinge of blue in sight.

Pictures below were taken outside the mall today. It was such a nice, bright day and the air felt crisp and fresh, the sky a brilliant blue.

Don't the buildings behind the mall's sprawling carpark look like HDB flats?

It was so cold even the condensation inside the car turned immediately into ice!

Winter is officially and truly here!


mariposa said...

Phwahhh!! So brrrrr.. cold!

My daughter is living with her godmum while studying in Montreal and her godmum said she needs to get one winter coat for 0 to -15C, and another for -15C to -40C!! Unimaginable.. and don't really want to go there to know what that feels like..

In winter, Vancouver is always hovering 5 degrees above or below zero. I guess that's why winter here is drab and dreary!! Also, the snow keeps melting and refreezing, hence there's ice aplenty. It's wet snow, not white powder. Not very good for road conditions.


monlim said...

Wow, minus 17 degrees C is unimaginable for me. But the pictures are very pretty. Is it even bearable to walk outside? I guess that's a great reason to just stay home and chill :)

Lilian said...

YY: It's horrible when the snow's all wet and turns into slush, then not only is the sky dull and gloomy, the roads are slushy and muddy, not sure if it's made worse due to the bad pollution here.

I was picking Brian up last Sunday from a sleepover at the Crazy Canadians aka Haunted House builders, and they said their friends in Canada say it's minus 50C over there (maybe northern side). We're toasty here by comparison!

Monica: It's bearable if you wear the appropriate clothings. Even at such temperatures, I was told the babushkas (Russian nannies) would still push babies/tots out in prams at night for fresh air, warmly wrapped up of course.

Roslyn said...

Hahaha! No wonder England always looks 'dull, dreary and depressing'. It was the same here. I thought we had a rather 'warm' autumn and a mild start to winter, then the temperature dipped and it's pretty cold now. Well, actually very mild compared to where you are!

Lilian said...

England may be dull and dreary but it's not depressing! So much to do, buy, eat...and to watch on TV :) X Factor just ended and I had to patiently wait for some kind soul to upload onto Youtube so I could watch it. Anyway, you keep warm in your cosy new home. Happy Christmas!

Anonymous said...

-20deg C!! I dun think I can take that!! brrrrrr.....


Alcovelet said...

All the quoted temperatures are without windchill, right? Must be a lot worse outside if the wind is whipping, yow!

Lilian said...

You're absolutely right...there's not much windchill now, so even though temperatures are this low, it's not as bad as when harsh cold winds are blowing.

Puzzled by Puzzles! said...

Today is -11C and I didn't feel like stepping out of the house. Cannot imagine how -22C feels like! Brrrr!
My dd gets out of the hse at 6.30am daily for swimming. She said when she walks out at the end of the session, her hair actually freezes!
Tmr I will be heading for a warmer place. Hee! :D

elan said...

Errr..did I see correctly. The pic of Sean in minus 6C looks like he is only wearing a t-shirt under his open jacket?

Lilian said...

Well-spotted Elan. It's a long-sleeved tee but not a very thick one. Maybe he had another short tee under that one. Brian is worse, he goes to school with a polo tee and his winter jacket. Every morning, father and son get into argument about the lack of layering.

Now that it's below minus 10, he started wearing an extra layer, a cardigan. Many of the kids in school do the same...jeans and summer clothings, cos they complain it's warm in school lah. Actually, I'm the same, when I go grocery-shopping, it's a pair of jeans, a normal summer top, and then I pile on a thick knee-length winter coat...rush out of warm building and jump into warm car.

mariposa said...

Yes, in schools and in malls they often turn on the heat full blast! I always have to strip off layers and dangle them on my arms.. I kept arguing with my son until I actually helped out in the school library and found I had to strip to my single layer long-sleeve T. I think our metabolism has adjusted so that what is air-con temp in Singapore would feel warm to us.


Elan said...

Oh dear, puts us to shame. We were wearing thermal underwear, polar fleece t-shirt, woolen cardigan and down jacket and it was only about 1 degree in Beijing, not to mention the hats, scarfs and gloves. The whole family looked liked Michelin men. Looks like you have really adapted to the weather there.


Lilian said...

Partly adaptation, partly cos we're hardly exposed to the cold for an extended time. Seriously, as far as possible, we would avoid holidays where temperatures are below 10C, cos we'd have to be out for most of the day, cannot tahan. Definitely need thermal wear.

Over here, we literally zip out of one building into the car and out of the car into another building and so on. That's why can tahan.

mariposa said...

Outdoors when it gets to <5C, I wear: T-shirt-equivalent, a sleeveless fleece vest, and a jacket with inner fleece lining and outer thin padding. Thermal pants under corduroys, jeans or fleece pants. Scarves help A LOT (in the neck there're major blood vessels traversing just under the skin, so one loses a lot of heat from the neck. Arms and legs are well padded with muscle, that's why they don't get cold that easily, except for hands & feet. Chest & abdomen lose heat too--muscle layer is thin there).

Yes, we're just zipping from car to building, so can survive with less clothing. But if I'm standing out there for 1/2 an hour, like if I'm taking bus, I would definitely need more, like an extra thermal vest and a woolen hat perhaps.

The coldest I've experienced was in Montreal in March, when it was -7C but they have these freezing winds. It was the first time I needed a woolen hat (they call it 'toque' here)--previously in Vancouver, my long hair sufficed, even up in Whistler. And EVERYONE in Montreal wears scarves, even in March.