Moscow experiences the snowiest winter in 100 years

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Snow in Moscow's Red Square (2006)
Image: Valerii Tkachenko, Flickr.

The Moscow authorities confirmed they recorded the highest level of snowfall this winter in the capital city of Russia in 100 years. Recent heavy snow has produced major traffic jams since Monday. The traffic stopped in queues up to 20 km long. The weather caused bad visibility and icy roads. The airport services were not affected until late Monday, when the authorities had to divert even the prime minister Dmitry Medvedev's plane heading from Sochi. The plane landed safely in St. Petersburg and had to wait for better conditions.

The record amount of this winter's snow was confirmed by the Moscow city hall officer Pyotr Biryukov. He said more than two meters of snow have fallen from sky on Moscow since the beginning of the winter.

The traffic analyst Leonid Mednikov estimated the total length of the traffic jams queues as being up to 3,500 kilometers. The most affected streets included arterial roads: the Volokolamsk highway, the Andropov Avenue and the Kutuzovsky Avenue, as well as the Moscow Ring Road and several highways in the city outskirts. Many Muscovites spent up to 10 hours in cars on their way home from their jobs.

Congestion of this sort is not unusual in Moscow: the last similar incident occurred just two weeks ago, although the authorities of the city deployed thousands of snow-clearing machines to handle the snow. More snow is expected in February and March.