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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Folklore, Science Agree: Cold Winter in Store

The winter will be unusually cold, said the guard ushering people into the Kremlin earlier this week, because the fish have disappeared from the northern reaches of Siberian rivers.

The fish expect the rivers to freeze solid, he explained, and have headed south to avoid certain death.

White every country has its amateur meteorologists, Russia's have an especially large repertoire of folk methods - all of which are pointing to a bitter winter this year.

Conventional wisdom in Russia says the winter will be especially cold if, for example:

othe first snow falls when leaves are still on the trees - as it did this year on Sept. 30.

othere is snow and a frost on St. Dmitry's Day, Nov. 8 - as there was Monday.

omasses of mountain ash grow in the countryside - as it did this summer.

And many Muscovites say simply that the rainy, cold summer signaled a snowy, cold winter.

Sharp wintry winds that had Muscovites grimacing Wednesday and Thursday looked to be proving the folk methods right.

Temperatures were 10-12 degrees below norms for this time in November, reaching minus 20 degrees Celsius during the day and minus 15-16 overnight, said a spokeswoman for the city weather service, Tamara Mnatsikanyant.

"Only once in 10 years does it get this cold in November", she said.

Andrei Lakhov, deputy director of the weather service, said that while he expected a chilly winter, such weather would be all too usual.

"This year, the winter will be exactly characteristic of this climate - cold and snowy", he said. "But after the last few winters, which were warmer than usual, it will be interpreted by residents as being colder than usual".

Lakhov dismissed attempts to predict the weather through prescient fish, saying such folk methods are "linked to a certain territory or locality".

"If a person living in Moscow tries to predict the weather by a method that works in the Far East, we get mistakes".