Moscow Gets 6 Minutes of Sunlight in December
© Andrei Lyubimov / Moskva News Agency
The Russian capital survived without direct sunlight for an entire month in what was surely welcome news for sun-averse readers.

The last month of the year is traditionally the darkest throughout Russia, according to the Meteonovosti weather portal. Although Moscow sees on average 18 hours of sunlight in December, this year, the sun failed to shine for an entire month, the portal said.

"Last December was the darkest month in the history of weather observations," Meteonovosti reported Monday.

Roman Vilfand, the head of Russia's meteorological center, told the RBC business portal that the sun peaked out of the clouds for a whopping six minutes last month.

"It was an extraordinary situation this year," he said, citing anomalous warm temperatures - 5.8 degrees higher than average - and cyclones that caused clouds to block out the sun.

The last record was set in December 2000, when Moscow only saw three hours of direct sunlight in the entire month.

Comment: Meanwhile, Belgians should consider themselves lucky, i guess:
Darkest December in Belgium since 1934

If you reached the end of the year feeling low in vitamin D, there's a good reason: last month was the gloomiest December in Belgium in more than 80 years.

The sun shone for a grand total of 10.5 hours last month - less than a quarter of the ordinary December average, which is 45 hours and eight minutes.

Statisticians at the Royal Meteorological Institute in Uccle had to look back as far as 1934 to find a darker December - when just nine hours 31 minutes of sunlight was recorded across the whole month.

December 2017 was also one of the wettest Decembers in recent memory, with 130mm of rainfall compared to a normal 81mm. It rained on 26 days in the month and there were nine days of storms, compared to the usual three.

Meanwhile, weather stats for the whole year show 2017 was one of the warmest on record (since 1833), on a par with 1989 and 2015. The average temperature at Uccle across the year was 11.3°C - and June and March were unusually hot.