MOSCOW, February 6 (RIA Novosti) - Muscovites have been forced to wrap up again as they returned to work Monday in a continuing cold spell that has seen temperatures struggle to make it above -25° Celsius (-13°F) in central Moscow.
The mercury dropped to -29° (-20.2°F) in northern Moscow, local weather forecasters said, but temperatures are expected to warm up to between -25° and -20° (-13° to -4°F) in the city and its outskirts by the afternoon.
Meteorologists said they did not expect the weather to improve until February 7. The current cold spell is the second this year, with Moscow having spent a week in mid-January in the grip of extreme lows. Temperatures in the Russian capital grazed the -32°C (-25.6°F) record for January 19, recorded in 1927.
Energy consumption soared as the cold deepened. Gas fields and storage facilities were unable to meet demand fully, and fuel was released from strategic reserves to help deal with the problem. Moscow energy utility Mosenergo was forced to cut supplies to some industrial and commercial consumers in order to maintain power and heat deliveries to residential customers and critical services.
Some regions suffered more serious effects, as systems buckled under the strain. A failure at a local boiler house in the Moscow Region town of Tomilino left 26,000 residents without heating.