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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Warm Winter Sends Chill Through City

MTThe balmy temperatures on Thursday drawing visitors to Yekaterininsky Park.
Moscow's unusually warm winter weather continued to break records Thursday as temperatures hit 5.3 Celsius, making it the hottest Jan. 11 in more than 50 years.

The balmy January weather, nearly 9 degrees above average, is likely to continue.

"It will stay warm until the end of January," Irina Smetanina, a spokeswoman for the state weather center, said Thursday.

February may be just as warm, Smetanina added. Temperatures are predicted to drop to zero C over the weekend and to minus 3 C by Tuesday, but will rise to 3 C by Jan. 20.

Moscow is not alone. Much of central Russia has been hit by an unusual warm front coming in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Farther east, the weather is not nearly as warm, but it is also not nearly as cold as in years past.

In the Sverdlovsk region in Siberia, for instance, temperatures now stand at minus 14 C, 2 degrees above the average. In much of Yakutia, the ice roads used in winter have yet to form, Regnum news agency reported.

The weather has had an unsettling effect on many.

The bears at Moscow's zoo only managed to nod off in late December after a few sleepless weeks because of the unusually warm weather, zoo spokeswoman Raisa Korolyova said.

Other hibernating animals have not been so happy. Hedgehogs in Kursk are still roaming around, Regnum reported.

The Moscow zoo bears should stay asleep until March, but the weather could wake them up before then, Korolyova said.

In a change from years past, Russian newspapers are now chock full of advice about how to avoid wintertime depression caused by too much warmth. A lack of sun and light because of the absence of snow is one of the most common complaints.

"There were never such winters under communism," complained Moskovsky Komsomolets on Wednesday. "Everyone wants to live well, like in Europe," the paper lamented. "The winter here is already like that in Europe."

Suggestions for fighting the drab weather include going to tanning salon and looking on the bright side of things.

"You need to try and see the positive aspects if you want to get into a mood that fits in with the unusual weather," medical researcher Alexander Litvinov said, Interfax reported Thursday.

Litvinov made a three-point argument to help Muscovites forget about the snow and learn to love the new Russian winter: The warm weather means there are fewer slips and falls on snowless streets, driving is easier without the snow, and you don't have to put on so many layers of clothing.

"The important thing," he said, "is that the bad weather is not in your soul."