— -- Moscow is buried by white following record-breaking snowfall in the Russian capital and surrounding region that has caused power outages, travel delays and least 1 death.
Over 2 feet of snow fell over the weekend, the heaviest in February since records began, surpassing the previous record in 1957, according to Russia’s national meteorological center.
Moscow’s mayor’s office has said the city has cleared 42.4 million cubic feet (1.2 million cubic meters) of snow in the past 24 hours.
"Such a huge amount of snow fell for the first time in 100 years," Moscow's deputy mayor, Pyotr Biryukov, was quoted as saying by the state news agency, TASS. "We definitely have a lot of snow to remove."
Even in a city well-accustomed to snow, the exceptionally heavy dump over the weekend has stretched its limits. Authorities urged people to avoid travel where possible and to use public transport instead of cars to allow them to clear the roads. A partial snow day was declared for schools in the city, with attendance made nonmandatory.
Around 40,000 people in central Russia were left without electricity after the snowstorm damaged power lines. Hundreds of trees have fallen in Moscow under the weight of the snow and wind, and one person was killed and five injured after a tree brought down power lines, Moscow’s mayor’s office said. Some flights at Moscow’s airports were delayed, with some redirected to other regions.
In Moscow, hundreds of dump trucks were carting loads of snow from the city as workers busied to dig out paths and push snow off roofs. In one town outside of Moscow the army was deployed to help with clearing.
The snowstorms follow an exceptionally warm December in Moscow which saw virtually no snowfall. The ground was bare during the New Year’s holidays when Muscovites normally can expect several inches or far more.
Snowfall was expected to continue on Monday before giving way to colder temperatures, reaching around 3 degrees Fahrenheit in Moscow, Russia's state news channel, Russia 24, reported.