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© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Fedorenko

Record-breaking snowfall leads to record-breaking traffic jams

by at 21/12/2011 17:19


Record-breaking traffic jams marked the first serious snowfall in Moscow this year on Wednesday morning.

The largest congestion was to be found on the Moscow Ring Road, or MKAD. The traffic jam stretched for some 40 kilometres earlier today, and is still hindering many motorists who are trying to make their way through the eastern segment of the ring road, according to monitoring service Yandex.Probki.

The snowfall is set to continue on Thursday, meteorologists say. The amount of snow that descended on the city overnight exceeds the daily norm for this time of year by five times, RIA Novosti reported.


Nine out of 10 for traffic jams

Yandex.Probki’s congestion rating for the capital hit a record for this year, with nine points out of 10. On regular days it doesn’t rise above six points.   

“The nine point rating remained for about two hours,” Leonid Mednikov, a Yandex.Probki analyst, told RIA Novosti. But despite a slight relief that the city saw after 11 am, the worst might still be ahead, he warned.

“If the snow keeps falling in the evening, we might reach the 10 point maximum,” Mednikov said. Meteorologists from Gismeteobyuro, however, believe, there will be no records set for today.

“The precipitation is to become less intense during the night. It will be snowing the first half of the day mostly,” weather experts told Interfax.


Authorities blamed

Stuck in a gridlock, Muscovites took the advantage of the Internet and started directing their anger towards the city authorities.

“I’ve never seen this amount of snow on the MKAD! They haven’t cleaned anything there,” an disgruntled Muscovite submitted a tweet to Interfax. “I’ve been on the road for an hour, and haven’t seen any snow cleaning vehicles,” another tweet read.

Even exit roads from the city were blocked this morning, according to others, while normally leaving the city is not a problem at this time of day.   

Officials said the situation was under control, saying that they were doing everything possible to cope with the problem.

“If 10 cm of snow falls over a European capital, the city get completely stuck in a gridlock, and in general our situation is normal and stable,” Andrei Tsybin, head of Moscow’s utilities department, told Interfax. 

In total, 12 cm of precipitation is expected today, the agency reported. And 140,000 cubic meters of snow has already been removed, deputy mayor for utilities Igor Pergamenshchik told Interfax. 


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