Much of Russia is on warm side this winter

Most people think of Moscow as cloaked in snow from late autumn but this winter daisies are blossoming by the Kremlin and fresh buds are growing on trees in some of the warmest December temperatures on record.

On Dec. 7, Moscow basked in 46 degrees Fahrenheit, beating the previous record of Dec. 7, 1898, a spokesman for the state weather monitoring unit said on Tuesday.

“In the European part of Russia, we can clearly see an anomaly, a big positive anomaly,” Mark Naishuller said. “Temperatures are positive even beyond the Arctic Circle.”

Four days this December were warmer than any of their counterparts in the period since records began in 1879.

Instead of trademark snow, green grass adorns some parts of Moscow. Purple violets and yellow coltsfoots -- flowers that usually blossom between spring and autumn -- have been spotted in the capital and the surrounding area, media have reported.

Some types of mushrooms have also ignored the calendar month, when the average temperature for Moscow is around - 25 F, and grown afresh on tree trunks.

Bears are putting off their winter slumber and warmth-loving jaguars are still walking outside in the Moscow zoo.

Farmers are worried that plants, unprotected by a layer of snow, will die when frost sets in.

“This has to do with unusually active Atlantic cyclones,” the spokesman for Rosgidromettsentr said, explaining the warm weather in European Russia.

“We shouldn’t link it to global warming yet. It is a localized phenomenon.”

Naishuller added that the weather in other parts of Russia was more typical for December and eastern Siberia was even colder than usual.

Many of those Russians who do see signs of global warming in the mild Moscow weather stay upbeat.

“Muscovites are smiling: they don’t have to wear hats and the grass is green like in some kind of England,” wrote popular daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, adding Russia could only gain from a warmer global climate.