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In Honour Of The Coldest Village On Earth, We Present Some Of The Most Extreme Weather Ever Recorded
February 24, 2013
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In Canada, we like to think we're a hardy bunch - especially when the mercury plunges in the dead of winter.

In 'Dumb and Dumber', one of the dummies comes by his name honestly by doing what every Canadian kid worth his salt is warned not to do - lick an icy pole.

The worst place to do this would be the remote Russian village of Oymyakon. You'll see what we mean when you read this list.

There, your tears of despair would just freeze to your face.

While we fight through the chill, here are some of the most extreme weather events ever recorded.

1. A Mighty Wind

Commonwealth Bay would wreak havoc with your golf game even if the place wasn't in Antarctica. And you'd lose your ball in the snow there, anyway.

The region is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the windiest place on Earth.

The average speeds there would literally blow you away: 240 km/h (150 mph) or more, and the rest of the weather systems there are no barrel of laughs either.

As 1913 expedition meteorologist C.T. Madigan put it, "For nine months of the year an almost continuous blizzard rages, and for weeks one can only crawl about... unable to see an arm's length owing to the blinding snow drift..."

2. Wettest Calendar Month

Mawsynram, India (on the Bangladeshi border) holds the mantle of "Wettest Place", with 12 metres (nearly 40 feet) of average precipitation per year.

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That's enough to rain on several parades.

The record calendar month of more than just over nine metres (30 feet) of rain - was set in nearby Cherrapunji, India in 1861.

3. Cold Enough For Ya? Yes. Coldest Inhabited Place.

If things sink any lower than a balmy -67C, the people of Oymyakon may just pack up and leave.

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According to the Daily Mail, the Russian town's average temperature for January stands at -50C.

If the temperature dips below that, the town's only school closes. Otherwise, class is on.

In 1933, the lowest temp ever recorded in Oymyakon was -67.7C, making it the coldest place on earth. However, another Russian town - Verkhoyansk - is now challenging that title.

It claims that as far back as 1885 the temperature in their town fell to -67.8C.

4. Not Made in the Shade - Highest Recorded Temperature In The Shade

The Sahara Desert in Libya is the spot where the highest shade temperature has been recorded: 58C (136.4F) at Al'Aziziyah on the 13th of September, 1922.

5. Somebody Bring Me Some Water

According to National Geographic, there are parts of Chile's Atacama Desert that haven't seen a drop of rain since officials started keeping records.

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Even the mirages have skipped town but farmers in the nearby (and very dry) Antofagasta region are a determined lot.

They grow vegetables using a drip-irrigation system and get water from aquifers - as the region only gets a few millimetres of rain a year on average and the landscape includes salt flats and lava.

6. That Big Gust Of Dust

Oklahoma is the state most well-known for the Dust Bowl and being a frequent epicentre for tornadoes in the so-called Tornado Alley.

So, it's not surprising the fastest gust ever recorded was here 512 km/h (318 mph), observed for 3-seconds by a Doppler on Wheels radar unit in Oklahoma City in 1999.

7. Hail to the Chief...The Largest Hailstone

A bug is one thing, but here's something you don't want hitting your windshield - the giant hailstone that hit Vivian, South Dakota in the summer of 2010.

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It holds the American record for the largest stone in diameter, reaching a whopping 8 inches (20 cm), roughly the size of a soccer ball and weighing 1.938 pounds (0.879 kilograms).

8. Let It Snow... Biggest Snowflake

A really great Cal Tech snow website shows off all the wonderful variety of flakes, from simple prisms to radiating dendrites and irregular crystals.

The largest snowflake ever observed (shape unspecified): 38 centimetres (15 in) in diameter in Fort Keogh, Montana (January, 1887).

It was even honoured graphically as a Google homepage tribute.

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