Saturday, 15 December 2012

Early December 2012

The snow has continued to fall and stay mostly in place since 24th October.  Temperatures have plunged further and touched -31C at 6am on some mornings.  So, we have established that winter in Oskemen in Eastern Kazakhstan is cold. It is going to get colder too.  The forecast has most nights this coming week dipping to below -30C.
Empty streets early in the morning

There is the possibility of students staying at home (though teachers still have to attend the school and sort out the web based learning that will occur via a Google system).
Wrapped up well
However, I am looking forward to scenes of frosted trees and "winter wonderland" images appearing.  Christmas trees are being placed and decorated around the city, in addition to the lights that were already about.

Some of the trees just need snow for decoration, though my breath did freeze in front of the lens while taking the picture at  -30C!
Fir trees dressed in white
Back in town the snow is piling up as fast as it is being cleared by the municipal authorities. They are, in fact, keeping completely on top of the job with (to my knowledge anyway) no roads being blocked by snow or ice.  The roads in the mountains were closed by the authorities on Thursday (13th December) night as a precautionary measure, and orange rescue helicopters have flown out from Oskemen eastwards over the school on Thursday morning and Friday morning on patrol for people in trouble.
Winter street, Oskemen
Taking a walk down by the river to see the mist and the ice produced some interesting pictures on the 15th.  The water temperature is about +3C and the air is below -30C.  Overnight prior to taking these pictures below, the temperature (without wind chill taken into account) was -41C.
Whitened silver birch.
A rather snowy pathway.
Sun trying to break through the mist.
The riverside promenade.