Snow paralyses traffic in Russian capital

4th December 2012, Comments 0 comments

The Russian capital Moscow on Tuesday suffered through another heavy snowfall which created record traffic jams in the city and caused flight delays.

Colossal amounts of snow fell overnight, making the morning commute into the city a nightmare, with stop-and-go traffic on most major streets of the capital.

"Today Moscow was one step away from complete transportation paralysis," a presenter said on Channel One's afternoon news.

A government plane with several ministers was delayed by the weather flying out of Moscow due to particularly heavy snowfall in Vnukovo airport, Russian agencies reported.

The airport said on its website that it was forced to close down its landing strip for fifteen minutes every hour in order to clean it and treat it with anti-freezing agents.

The emergency ministry in Tver region northwest of Moscow -- where thousands of trucks were stuck in a 190 kilometre-long jam over the weekend -- warned that snowfall is once again slowing down transport.

"There is increased risk of traffic jams and accidents due to snowfall," the ministry said on its website, warning of a decreased speed limit on the highway M10 that links Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Disgruntled drivers and commuters meanwhile were discussing the situation on a newly created social networking group for those stuck in the jam. The group had over 2,500 members Tuesday.

Head of Russia's weather service Roman Vilfand said the snow was not unexpected, in fact it "fell precisely on the day when it was supposed to," he noted in a briefing, RIA Novosti reported.

The service said on its website that snowfall will resume again in the Russian capital starting on Friday, with temperatures hovering slightly below zero.

In the Russian Far East one month worth of snow fell overnight Tuesday, leading some towns in the region to cancel school lessons.

© 2012 AFP

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