Record snowfall hits Moscow, downing thousands of trees | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 05.02.2018
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Record snowfall hits Moscow, downing thousands of trees

Freezing rain and heavy snow have killed one person in Moscow and downed over 2,000 trees. Over half a meter of snow blanketed the Russian capital by Monday morning in what was already dubbed a "snowfall of the century."

Moscow authorities said coming to school was "optional" on Monday as the Russian capital was bracing for more snow and icy weather following the record-breaking snowfall. Some 25 incoming flights were redirected to other Russian cities and over 100 delayed following the weekend storm, which tested even the limits of the famously icy metropolis.

Read more: Storm rips through Moscow streets, many killed

Tails of Aeroflot passenger jets at Shermetyevo airport (picture-alliance/Russian Look/L. Faerberg/Transport-Photos Images)

Snow delayed flights on Moscow airports, including the busy Shermetyevo

Freezing rain accompanied by 43 centimeters (17 inches) of snow blanketed the capital within 24 hours. It was the heaviest day of snowfall to hit the Russian capital since the country's weather records began, Russia's meteorological service said. By Monday morning, the blanket of snow thickened to 55 centimeters.

Officials urged Moscow drivers not to take their cars on the streets, in order to ease the job for snow-cleaning crews.

Army deployed to remove snow

Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that the public transport was mostly functioning normally by Monday.

"We had what was already dubbed a 'snowfall of the century,'" he told the press. "Still, there was no collapse or a disaster," he added.

Russian army also deployed troops to help with the relief efforts in Moscow and St. Petersburg areas.

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Watch: Heavy snow in Moscow

Previously, Sobyanin said that one person was killed and five injured due to snow and dangerous conditions.

"One person died from a falling tree that hit an electric power line," Sobyanin posted on his VKontakte social media page. He warned that strong winds were still to come.

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At least 2,000 trees around the city collapsed due to the snow, officials added.

More snow to come

The severe weather also caused massive power outages in hundreds of towns around Moscow, although the power supply was restored by Monday.

Snow cleaning crews were doing double their normal runs through the city, as temperatures were expected to dip to -17 degrees Celsius (+1.4 Fahrenheit) on Monday night.

"In addition to that, there will be more snow," deputy mayor Pyotr Biryukov, told the press. "In the next three days, we will have 6 to 8 centimeters of snow on the Moscow streets."

The weekend snowfall topped the previous record values from 1957 and 2013.

dj,rs/msh (AP, AFP, dpa, Interfax)

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