Big freeze: Russia's Yakutia sees near-record cold spell

Big freeze: Russia's Yakutia sees near-record cold spell

MOSCOW (AP) - People living in some of the coldest places on earth are hunkering down as temperatures fall to near-record lows that are even defeating thermometers.

Temperatures in the remote, diamond-rich Russian region of Yakutia on Tuesday plunged to minus 67 degrees Celsius (minus 88.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas.

In Yakutia - about 3,300 miles (5,300 kilometers) east of Moscow - where students routinely go to school in minus 40 degrees, school was canceled throughout the region. Local police also ordered parents to keep their children at home.

Over the weekend, two men froze to death when they tried to walk to a nearby farm after their car broke down. Three other men who were with them survived because they were wearing warmer clothes, local investigators reported on Monday.

The press office of Yakutia's governor said Tuesday all households and businesses in the region have working central heating and access to backup power generators.

In the village of Oymyakon, one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, state-owned television showed mercury falling to the bottom of a thermometer that was only set up to measure down to minus 50. In 2013, Oymyakon recorded an all-time low of minus 71 degrees Celsius (minus 98 Fahrenheit).

Residents of Yakutia, home to nearly 1 million people, are no strangers to cold weather, and this week's cold spell was not even dominating headlines in local media on Tuesday. Some media outlets, however, ran stories of selfies and stunts in the extreme cold. Women posted pictures of their frozen eyelashes, while YakutiaMedia published a picture of Chinese students who got undressed to take a plunge in a thermal spring.

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