Massive Moscow snowstorm

A weekend-long snowstorm in Moscow has delayed flights, cut power supplies to nearby villages and even prompted authorities to call a snow day — a highly unusual occurrence in the frost-resistant Russian capital.

The Meteorological Office said on Monday that more than a month's average of snow fell on Moscow over the weekend, with the height of snow now reaching up to 55 centimetres (22 inches) in some parts of the capital.

In a city where school is rarely ever cancelled, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said parents are not expected to take children to school on Monday.

Moscow roads on Monday morning were congested but the city did not see a complete gridlock as many had feared.

Snowplows have been working in the city all weekend, clearing a record 1.2 million cubic meters (42 million cubic feet) of snow from the streets, Deputy Mayor Pyotr Biryukov told Russian news agencies.

He hailed utility workers for allowing Moscow to function as normal.

"There is no collapse, no catastrophe," Sobyanin said. "The city is functioning as normal."

Outside Moscow, the snowfall was so bad that local authorities has asked the army to send in the troops and trucks to help clear out the snow, the Defence Ministry said on Monday.

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