Storm rips through northwest Russia, Moscow braced

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Tens of thousands in northwest Russia were left without electricity Monday when a storm ripped through the region after weeks of drought, with the weather set to hit Moscow later.

The emergencies ministry in the Leningrad region around Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg said almost 100,000 people in 1,500 towns and villages in northwest Russia were left without electricity.

The storm, which was also felt in Saint Petersburg, saw high winds and driving rain and felled several trees. Train traffic was also affected.

Weather forecasters warned that the storm front was heading for the Moscow region, with thunder, torrential rain and even hail expected to fall from 0800 GMT until 1100 GMT.

Russia has been suffering from its worst heatwave in years which sparked massive wildfires and left Moscow covered in a blanket of smog for days.

© 2010 AFP

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