Major snowfall sweeps through Iran, brings traffic to standstill (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Major snowfall sweeps through Iran, brings traffic to standstill (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
This year’s first snow storm battered much of Iran Saturday night, causing airport closures, disrupting traffic and shutting schools across the country.

Having started on Thursday the snowstorm peaked late Saturday, affecting two-thirds of the population in more than 20 provinces, Press TV reported. The north of country was hit hardest, with some areas receiving 80 centimeters of snow.

Two international airports in the capital were closed – Imam Khomeini International Airport and Mehrabad – and Tehran-bound flights were diverted to airports in Isfahan and Mashhad, according to Tasnim news agency. The airports resumed work Sunday morning after clearing runways of snow.

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Thousands of motorists were stuck on inter-city highways, with rescuers from the Iranian Red Crescent Society, emergency services and ambulance rushing to help stranded commuters. Those traveling by train also experienced delays.

All schools were closed in Tehran, with Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi asking young residents to help municipality workers shake off snow from trees after several branches collapsed on electricity cables and cars under the weight.

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