Heavy snow hits Moscow, causing traffic jams and flight delays, Russia

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Snow fell on Russian capital Moscow on February 13, 2019, causing traffic jams and flight delays. The event sparked media frenzy about it being record-breaking and strongest in 140 years. However, a quick look at data provided, including pictures and videos, revealed it's not quite true.

Reports of record-breaking snowfall in Moscow first appeared on Russian News Agency TASS. However, the article, which is actually a media gallery, doesn't mention the amount of snow or the record it broke.

The city saw some 7 cm (2.8 inches) of snow, with snow drifts reaching 45 cm (18 inches), according to AFP. Since snowfall and snow depths are measured in locations where the effects of blowing and drifting are minimized, 7 cm is really not that impressive and it's not even a one-third of Moscow's monthly average. The amount has reportedly fallen in 7 hours.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said all the municipal clearing services have stepped up their work. More than 60 000 people were sent out to shovel the snow helped by 10 000 snow plows and 2 000 trucks, he said.

While this sure is notable winter weather, especially for a capital city with a population of 12 million, on February 5, 2018 the city was also hit by what media described as 'snowfall of the century.' It dropped 22 cm (8.6 inches) of snow in 24 hours which is more than half of the city's monthly average. More than 850 flights were delayed or canceled, 2 000 trees fell overnight and one person died after being hit by a falling tree.

A similarly strong snowstorm hit the city on February 4, 2013 with 36 cm (14 inches) of snow in 24 hours.

Featured image credit: Igor Viktoroff

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