By Agence France-Presse
Moscow registered the warmest December weather in over a century on Wednesday, as an unusually snowless month put winter activities on hold and confused plants into blooming.
A visitor walks in the Apothecary Garden, also known as the Botanic Garden of Moscow State University, in Moscow, Russia December 18, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/ MANILA BULLETIN
One weather station in northern Moscow registered a temperature of 5.4 degrees Celsius (41.7 degrees Fahrenheit), said the Fobos weather centre.
"This is a new record of maximum air temperature for 18 December," surpassing a previous record of 5.3 degrees set in 1886, it said.
The Russian capital, normally covered with a blanket of snow by mid-December, thus far has had a snowless and cloudy winter, and the Russian weather service warned Wednesday that it may get even warmer.
A botanical garden in Moscow this week announced that its snowdrop flowers, which normally indicate the first signs of spring, were blooming because they "confused winter and spring."
"Gardeners are worried that the sakura will start blooming soon," the Apothecary Garden said on its website.
In Sokolniki park, popular with skiers and figure skaters in the winter, even the skiing track using artificial snow closed due to weather conditions.
One resident of Siberian city of Omsk even posted a jokey online "Snow for Sale" item, offering "natural snow" for R1,000 per cubic metre ($16).
"Moscow residents can use a seven percent discount when ordering more than 15 cubes," the notice on the Avito.ru popular online market said.