Not Much Warming in Russia Right Now

A woman who makes her living selling things on the street in Moscow bundles up on Thursday against the bitter cold.

How cold is it right now in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk?

So cold that the temperature is expected to stay below zero degrees Fahrenheit through this weekend — at least.

Winter doesn’t officially begin until Friday.

But Mother Nature is already getting her freeze on in Russia and Ukraine.

Siberia is a Russian region that’s notoriously cold in the winter.

And right now, it’s living up to its reputation.

The temperature in Novosibirsk was expected to get down to 31 below zero on Thursday.

That’s cold even by Siberian standards.

Russia’s capital city, Moscow, was experiencing a heat wave in comparison.

On Thursday, the high temperature there was expected to reach 3 degrees above zero.

And a lot of people there were taking the cold snap in stride.

“We are Russians.  The cold is normal,” one woman told Reuters news service.  “How do we protect ourselves?  Easily.  We put on fur coats.”

Not everyone is coping as well as she is.

The cold spell has killed at least 45 people in Russia, according to NBC News, and at least 37 this month in neighboring Ukraine.

Hundreds more people have been hospitalized for treatment of frostbite and other cold-related health problems.

Parts of Ukraine have also been hit with nearly two feet of snow, according to media reports — so much snow that people have abandoned their cars in snow drifts along roads.

The storm left nearly 600 Ukrainian villages without electricity last week, according to the AFP news agency.

Hundreds of shelters have reportedly been set up in Ukraine and Russia, to try to keep people from freezing.

Here in the United States, it’s been a relatively mild autumn.

But on Thursday, a snowstorm from the Rocky Mountains moved into the Midwest — a sign that Mother Nature and her old pal Old Man Winter are right on time.