2/2 © Reuters. Young women lie on the ground on a street during snowfall in Moscow 2/2
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Heavy snowfall has engulfed Moscow in huge drifts of snow, disrupting transportation, delaying flights and making it difficult for pedestrians to navigate facing high winds and temperatures of minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 Fahrenheit). The snowfall began late on Thursday and was expected to end on Sunday. Russia’s emergency service advised people to stay away from trees, warning of wind gusts of 18 meters per second (40 mph). “It‘s a real snowstorm, a snow Armageddon, a snow apocalypse. This is not a practice alert, but a combat alert,” said Evgeny Tishkovets of the Phobos weather service before the snow started. By early Saturday, the snow depth in the city reached 56 centimeters (22 inches), Phobos said. This was close to exceeding a record 60 cm of snow accumulation on February 13, it said. On Friday, Moscow saw record snowfall for February 12, breaking the previous record set for the date in 1973, Russian news agencies reported citing the national meteorological service. There have been multiple flight delays at airports in Moscow, a city of more than 12 million people. Unusually on a weekend, traffic was jammed in many places. About 60,000 people were working to clear the streets, the Moscow mayor’s office said.