Heaviest snowfall in a century hits Moscow
The heaviest snowfall in a century brought Moscow and the surrounding region to a near standstill and left hundreds of people without power, officials said Tuesday.
And with snowfall set to continue at least until the end of the week, the authorities are bracing for more chaos on the roads.
“There hasn’t been such a winter in 100 years,” Pyotr Biryukov, deputy mayor for residential issues, said Tuesday in comments carried by Interfax. “The snow this year has already reached one and a half times the climatic norm,” he said.
The capital has seen 216 centimeters of snow fall since the beginning of winter, Biryukov said.
Average snowfall in Moscow is 152 centimeters a year. Biryukov said the city saw 26 centimeters in the 24 hours preceding his Tuesday afternoon news conference and has seen 36 centimeters since the beginning of February.
The heavy snowfall that struck the city Monday quickly led to chaos on the roads. The Yandex Probki traffic monitoring service reached a full 10 points, and on Monday evening it issued the seldom-seen warning that “it’s quicker to walk.”
Moscow traffic police said Tuesday that they had counted more than 3,000 minor traffic accidents in the previous 24 hours, far exceeding the daily average for the city.
“There were 3,160 small traffic accidents in Moscow over the past day,” a police spokesman said.
The average number of traffic accidents in the city is between 1,500 and 2,500 per day, he said.
Monday’s unprecedented number of fender benders stems from traffic violations by drivers due to difficult conditions.
Snowfall is set to continue for the rest of the week but should slowly ease off, with forecasters predicting just 2 centimeters a day until Friday.
City Hall did not respond to requests for comment on its preparations for dealing with the snow, but Bityukov defended the city’s handling of the situation.
He also denied that the city needs to hire more staff to clear snow.
“We have agreements with various contractors specifying when they should clear their area. If they don’t, then we just don’t pay them,” he said in comments carried by Rossiskaya Gazeta.
“We all want everything cleared at once — roads, houses, your courtyard — but we have to choose what gets cleared first and what is cleared second,” he said.
City workers cleared about 800,000 cubic meters of snow in the past day. It now takes three to four days to clear 7 centimeters of snowfall, a process that used to take a week in 2010, he said.
in a century eh?
that doesnt really fall into line with a warming world..just a one off i guess?