2012 Indy Info
18 January, 2013, 22:27
Norilsk. (Photo from bigpicture.ru)
Russia has been hit by heavy snowfall over the past week, causing traffic accidents, flight delays, and cutting off some remote settlements entirely. Latest worldwide snow coverage maps show that the entire country is covered in snow.
As more than 10 inches of snow fell in Moscow – more than half of the average snowfall for the whole of January – the already congested city is on the verge of a traffic collapse. Traffic measuring portal Yandex reported Grade 10 (out of 10) jams on Friday, as strong winds created blizzard conditions and built imposing snow drifts.
More than 12,000 de-icers and snow sweepers are out on the streets, working around the clock.
As the city has come to a standstill the chair of the Duma’s transport committee has called for local transport officials to face legal sanctions for failing to cope with the winter weather.
“Until local bureaucrats face the wrath of the law, winter will always be a surprise occurrence. They will continue to do nothing, as people suffer,” Mikhail Bryachak told Kommersant FM radio.
Several dozen flights have been postponed at the city’s major airports, with thousands of passengers stranded, many having to stay overnight.
While in the large population centers in western Russia the snowstorms have caused inconvenience, further east they have been life threatening.
The polar circle city of Norilsk has seen snowfall build to a height of more than 10 feet, and entire apartment blocks have been barricaded by snow overnight, requiring city workers to dig passageways through the snow banks.
Meanwhile, icicles up to three feet in length have formed off every building ledge, breaking at random and causing a lethal hazard for pedestrians below.
Nearly two hundred people have died throughout Russia as a direct result of weather-related accidents and hypothermia this season, according to official statistics, although the extreme conditions have likely contributed to many more fatalities.
However, meteorologists have promised some good news: the stormy conditions are expected to recede over the weekend.
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