Residents of Far-East Russian Region Wake Up to Bizarre Pitch-Black Morning

The people of Siberia’s Verkhoyansk district got a feeling of deja vu last Friday when they woke up to total darkness at an hour when the sun should have been high in the sky. A similar phenomenon occurred in the region just over a year ago.

This time of year, dawn breaks at around 4 am in Verkhoyansk, but photos taken by locals at around 8 in the morning show no sign of the sun, as entire settlements are bathed in almost complete darkness with a bizarre yellow tinge to it. Luckily, locals were used to such unusual phenomena, as just last year, in July, Verkhoyansk and other Yakutian regions experienced another pitch black morning. In fact some people took to social media to ask if this is becoming some sort of weird tradition.

“Is it becoming a weird tradition that every August or July we wake up, panicking, because the sun is off again?” one Verkhoyansk local commented.

Although there is yet no official explanation for the bizarre sunless morning, weather experts believe it may be related to the forest fires raging over Siberia. Apparently, the high amounts of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere may have led to the rapid formation of unusually thick clouds that blocked the sun out completely.

“This situation can be compared to what is happening during cloud spiking which is done to cause rain,” Yevgeny Tishkovets, the chief specialist of Russian weather service Fobos, told the Yakutia-24 TV channel. “The cloud cover was as thick as it can possibly be, add to this the wildfires smoke and precipitation. This is still, of course, rather approximate and we need to analyse what happened in a lot more detail.”


The Fobos weather center did record a high concentration of carbon monoxide in the region – 7.19mg/m3 compared to the allowed maximum of 5mg/m3 – but it doesn’t seem like an extreme enough level to cause what looked like a total eclipse.

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