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15 Feb, 2007 15:15

Russia faces great snowfalls

Russia faces great snowfalls

Snowfalls are breaking all the records in different parts of Russia. Heavy snow has frozen air and transport routes and left thousands of homes without electricity.

Two cyclones attacked Russia from the east and the west. Far eastern island of Sakhalin has been cut off from the mainland and could remain so until the middle of February. All air and sea links have been shut down and winds are so high that electricity lines have been downed. Avalanches buried roads in the area. Tons of snow prevent traffic connection between the towns of the island. However, despite the extreme weather there have been no reports of injuries.

The Primorsky region experienced 5 times as much snow as the daily norm with the airport in the city of Vladivostok resuming operation after being closed for more than a day. Two hundred cars along with busses with Japanese tourists are stranded in the mountains as local military units help to clear the roads off snow and ice. Across the region rescue services are trying reconnect 80,000 people whose electricity supply has been cut.

And in Moscow heavy snow caused traffic jams and numerous accidents. Long jams forced people to spend up to 7 hours in their cars during the evening rush hour. Even the most effective snow clearing machinery couldn't cope with the amount of snow that blanketed the streets of the Russian capital.