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france 24 Europe

In pictures: Balmy Christmas prompts revellers to swap skis for beach

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-12-26

The world has seen a spell of unusually mild weather this Christmas, prompting some revellers to swap their bonnets and skis for a day out at the beach. FRANCE 24 has collected some pictures from across the globe.

Weather in Moscow and surrounding regions has been abnormally warm in recent days, with temperature records broken every day of the past week. The latest on Thursday was 8.5 degrees Celsius (47.3 degrees Fahrenheit) in Moscow when December temperatures in the Russian capital would typically average minus 6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Fahrenheit).

The warm weather led the city hall to close the ski rinks, while bees left their beehives and snowdrops suddenly bloomed in Moscow's parks. The exceptionally mild, and typically “un-Russian”, winter even prompted a Russian politician to promise that “real” winter is on its way.

"There necessarily will be snow, I assure you. There will be snow on the 30th," Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, declared earlier this week.

"People are telling me this is a European winter, that's good, that's how it's supposed to be. And I tell them 'No, this is not a Russian winter,'" complained Maria Arbuzova, a retiree at a holiday market near Moscow's Red Square.

In the US, East Coast Americans shed their Christmas sweaters on Thursday to enjoy soaring temperatures ahead of the holiday, as further south deadly tornadoes cut a swathe of destruction through rural communities.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in New York's iconic Central Park soared to 22 degrees Celsius (17.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest Christmas Eve peak since records began in 1871.

New Yorkers were seen hitting the ice-skating rinks – and even volley ball courts – sporting T-shirts and shorts.

In the capital Washington D.C., tourists and last minute shoppers also wore T-shirts and sat outside at sidewalk cafes while federal workers left their offices dressed for holiday parties.

High temperatures were reported as far north as Saint Anicet in the Canadian province of Quebec, which hit 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit).

In Britain, the mild temperatures caused flowers to unexpectedly bloom.

"I have been here nearly 42 years and I have never seen this kind of flowering in December before," senior horticulturalist Ray Townsend, at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, said, citing the early arrival of daffodils, irises, snowdrops and other flowers.

In France, the national weather service confirmed that it was the second warmest Christmas on record, trailing only the warm winter of 1997, with temperatures averaging 10.9 degrees Celsius (51.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

Date created : 2015-12-26

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