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Russia: Xmas whiteout strikes Moscow01:01

Russia: Xmas whiteout strikes Moscow

Russian Federation, Moscow
December 25, 2014 at 13:58 GMT +00:00 · Published

Even for a city accustomed to winter weather the blizzard conditions that descended on Moscow took everyone by surprise, Thursday. By 07:00 local time Moscow was already under 12 cm (4.72 inches) of snow, prompting officials to order snow ploughs to work on non-stop to clear the streets. Forecasters believe that as much as 20 cm (7.90 inches) could fall in the city before the end of the day.

Such intense snowfall played havoc with transportation. The search engine Yandex that grades traffic levels said that for the first time in years the worst possible rating of 10 points had been reached just before midday. According to Yandex Maps as of 16:00 local movement throughout the city was still rated at 10 points with multiple accidents reported on most of the city’s principle roads. Even cabinet ministers, who are whisked through traffic by their security details, were late for the last government meeting of the year, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev told media.

Over 150 flights were delayed at all three major airports, with over 100 take-offs postponed or cancelled. The Federal Air Transport Agency said that the decision whether to land now depends on local conditions and is at the discretion of the pilots. One crew even opted to land at Nizhny Novgorod 400 km (249 miles) to the east of Moscow while others opted for Sheremetyevo in the north.

Forecasters believe the severe conditions are likely to remain in place until after New Year because of oncoming frosts.

Russia: Xmas whiteout strikes Moscow01:01
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Description

Even for a city accustomed to winter weather the blizzard conditions that descended on Moscow took everyone by surprise, Thursday. By 07:00 local time Moscow was already under 12 cm (4.72 inches) of snow, prompting officials to order snow ploughs to work on non-stop to clear the streets. Forecasters believe that as much as 20 cm (7.90 inches) could fall in the city before the end of the day.

Such intense snowfall played havoc with transportation. The search engine Yandex that grades traffic levels said that for the first time in years the worst possible rating of 10 points had been reached just before midday. According to Yandex Maps as of 16:00 local movement throughout the city was still rated at 10 points with multiple accidents reported on most of the city’s principle roads. Even cabinet ministers, who are whisked through traffic by their security details, were late for the last government meeting of the year, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev told media.

Over 150 flights were delayed at all three major airports, with over 100 take-offs postponed or cancelled. The Federal Air Transport Agency said that the decision whether to land now depends on local conditions and is at the discretion of the pilots. One crew even opted to land at Nizhny Novgorod 400 km (249 miles) to the east of Moscow while others opted for Sheremetyevo in the north.

Forecasters believe the severe conditions are likely to remain in place until after New Year because of oncoming frosts.

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