Moscow: The Moscow authorities have dumped artificial snow in the city centre for New Year festivities, as the Russian capital witnessed the warmest December since 1886.
Moscow is typically blanketed in snow this time of year, but unusually warm weather has left the city snow-less.
However, a light dusting of snow had fallen by Monday afternoon in Moscow, with more forecast later in the week, the BBC reported. A strip of artificial snow now lies on one of Moscow’s main avenues – Tverskaya.
Similar snow dumps took place over the weekend at Red Square and some other sites in the city centre, which were being closed to traffic for the holiday.
A senior city hall official, Alexei Nemeryuk, said the artificial snow on Tverskaya was “a small amount to create a snowboarding hill in time for the New Year celebrations”.
The snow was made by breaking ice at some of Moscow’s skating rinks, especially the one at VDNKh, a big Soviet-era complex featuring exhibition halls and an amusement park.
On December 18, the temperature in Moscow reached 5.6 degrees Celsius, breaking a December record set in 1886.
Some residents of the capital quoted by the Moscow Times voiced disappointment at the authorities’ efforts to give them a proper Russian winter feeling, reports the BBC.
“It’s not festive at all,” said one, while another complained “it’s already turned beige or gray”.
Earlier this month, Russian climatologist Vladimir Semyonov said “such winters are a direct consequence of global warming – they will happen more frequently”.
The Russian summer this year was, however, marked by unusually severe frosts.