Have you ever imagined to live in a climate where you spine was literally frozen. The fluids in your body seemed to have stopped moving. Believe me or not those places exist on earth where people actually live. You may think you’re hearty because you can put on a coat and gloves to shovel 3 inches of snow in the winter, but if your version of cold is getting down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re practically in the tropics compared to those people. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the world living in the far North that withstand and embrace extremely cold temperatures as a way of life. Consider how it would be to live somewhere that only has one season – perpetual winter – and you’ll suddenly embrace the 10 degree nights where you live with a renewed gusto. Let’s cover these places country wise starting with the country with names hardest to pronounce…:) :
In Oymyakon, Russia, the temperature is always around 30 degrees below zero. You’ve probably heard of this remote northern wilderness in spy movies where people go missing only to be dumped into the frozen tundra of Siberia. When you picture the abominable snowman, igloos and vast expanses of dark, blowing snow, you’re actually picturing Oymyakon. The record for the lowest temperature ever recorded by humans – a chilly -96.16 deg F(-72 deg C) was recorded here. A nomadic type of people live in the frozen wasteland and their primary occupation is herding reindeer.
Verkhyoyansk, Russia is another chilly locale that’s home to about 1300 people. Most are fur traders or reindeer herders because what else would you do in a snowy, frozen expanse that stretches for as far as the eye can see? The chilly town is located in Stalin’s aptly named “Death Ring” which is where the dictator used to send political exiles as punishment. The harsh region has taken the lives of many prisoners who slaved away to build a lengthy highway in the event that visitors ever felt the need to venture into the frost-bitten land. The record low temperature here was -93.6 deg F(-69.7 deg C) in 1892.
Believe it or not, there’s a third location in Russia that makes the list. Yakutsk, Russia is the coldest city in the world and boasts a population of 210,000 cold-hearty people. The ground never thaws here and it gets so cold on a regular basis that frostbite can occur after just a few minutes outdoors.
America’s neighbor to the North is no stranger to the cold. In Whitehorse, Canada (population 30,400), temperatures rival those of Greenland. Whitehorse is located in the Yukon territory, just east of Alaska. Most of the population consists of Native Americans and the town came about as a result of the fur trade in the 1800s. Most notably, the area was involved in the Klondike gold rush, which ended in the early 1900s.
Snag, Canada, which is not far from Whitehorse, Canada is another chilly town. The lowest temperature recorded there was a whopping -81.4 deg F(-63 deg C). The temperature was recorded when it was only home to about 8 to 10 full time residents involved in the fur trade.
Another area of Canada with low temperatures and a low population (only 141 people) is Grise Fiord, Canada. The area has reached lows of minus 80 degrees and was originally founded during the Cold War to secure the high arctic. The population consists mainly of Native Americans who were supposed to only settle the area for a year, but wound up staying much longer due to a technicality The people and their descendants have been compensated monetarily for the mistake.
Don’t let the name fool you – Greenland is anything but green. The icy super island often sees temperatures of minus 50 degrees which is cold enough to freeze a ballpoint pen or gasoline with a small amount of water in it. Children living in the area are restricted to just 20 minutes of outdoor play at a time to prevent their lungs from freezing. Fortunately, native people in the area have adapted to the cold weather and unusual light cycles. In the summer, the sun does not set between May 13th and July 30th. In the winter, the sun does not rise between November 23rd and January 20th.
Prospect Creek, Alaska is the winner of the coldest temperature ever recorded on American soil. In January 1971, the temperature plummeted to a frigid minus 94 degrees. In the 70s about 20,000 people lived in the small town to work on the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Once completed, people abandoned the area for better conditions.
Another American city with a tendency for cold temperatures is International Falls, Minnesota. The town has typical winter temperatures of -32 degrees, though temperatures as low as -55 have been recorded. International Falls borders Canada and is well known for its winter sports including ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and more. Auto manufacturers like to use the chilly town to test the performance of their cars in winter conditions. The population hovers around 6,000 people.
Dras, India isn’t just cold, it’s also snowy. The area gets so much snow that it actually gets cut off from the rest of India for several months out of the year. Typical winter lows are -31 degrees, though -58 is not uncommon. During the summer, Dras turns a little bipolar and temperatures soar to the upper 80s.
Living in extremely cold environment does not come without its challenges. Often just stepping outdoors poses a hazard as the risk of frostbite is high in such low temperatures. Another difficulty to living the frozen life is finding ways to make money and survive. Many people resort to hunting, fur trapping and similar activities.
If you are amazed by the coldest places on earth where people live, you would also be interested in reading about the hottest place on earth where people live, their challenges and heart stopping temperature readings :
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