Well, Oymyakon is not really a town. It’s a village. With population just a bit over 500, Oymyakon in Siberia, Russia is otherwise pretty insignificant. The only thing that gives it some significance are the weather and low temperatures Oymyakon occasionally gets. While I don’t doubt Oymyakon is pretty darn close, it does seem that some facts about the weather there get rather twisted.
Take a look at the video below. It’s from some British TV series about the most extreme places on Earth. It’s nicely done, no doubt, but I live in Edmonton, which is hands down the coldest metropolitan city in the world and the cold weather we get here is real. I know what -32 feels like and it’s not quite the way this video presents it as. I somehow doubt it was truly -32 Celsius when the video was filmed.
Having lived in extreme cold most of my life, I often get asked whether various degrees of freezing cold make any difference to the way it is perceived. The cold is the cold is the cold. Well, not it isn’t. If you have lived in cold climates long enough, you will be able to handle most freezing temperatures, but -30 is the threshold. It doesn’t matter how used to this cold you are, -30 will get you. -40 is beyond brutal but we have to deal with that for at least a couple of weeks each winter. Last winter we had temperatures of below -40 for two months.
Things can be manipulated for the camera. Given its position in cold Siberia, Oymyakon is without doubt a cold village, but let’s not make it colder than it is. If any of Oymyakon were to try Edmonton for just one winter, their attitude on cold would change. Anyway, the video from Oymyakon is below. Looks like a nice place.
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