Icy rain disrupts transportation, power supply in Russia

23:49, December 27, 2010      

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Icy rain on Monday continued to disrupt air flights and severely affect car traffic for a second day in central Russia.

The volume of precipitation in the last 24 hours amounted to one third of a monthly level. The last time the icy rain phenomenon recorded in Moscow was in December 1979, the Interfax new agency reported.

Thousands of travellers who intended to celebrate the New Year abroad have been stuck in three Moscow airports with weather forecasts promising little hope in the near future.

Many travellers spent last night sleeping on the floors in the overcrowded terminals.

Among those stuck in the Sheremetyevo airport was Speaker of Russia's State Duma, Boris Gryzlov, who planned to fly to St. Petersburg Monday morning, RBC news agency reported.

In another Moscow airport, Domodedovo, the breakdown of ice-covered electric wires left the airport building and a railway link to downtown Moscow with no power for several hours early Monday.

In Vnukovo airport, a plane from Kazan with 52 passengers on board slid from a slippery runway during landing. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

Alexander Neradko, head of Russia's Federal Air Navigation Authority (Rosaviatsia), told reporters on Monday that situations in Moscow airports would return to normal within two days.

Across the Moscow city, 4,600 trees broke under the ice weight blocking the roads, disrupting 12 street-cars and trolley lines, thus further clogging the traffic that has been jammed even in better conditions.

In Moscow region, power cuts affected nearly 640 towns with a total population of 55,000 people. One federal cellphone operator told Xinhua that the wireless communications have been disrupted for a few hours in several areas in Moscow region.

In southern Urals, the federal highways have been closed because of heavy icing. At the Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod railway, electric trains have been replaced by diesel-powered trains.

Russian Emergencies Situation Ministry said Sunday that the bad weather might last for several days ahead with the affected areas expanding out of central Russia and the Volga regions.

Source: Xinhua
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