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Blizzard disrupts power and travel to thousands in Sakhalin Island, Russia


A powerful snowstorm with winds up to 119 km/h (74 mph) hit the Sakhalin Island, Russia, on March 11, 2020. The severe weather caused widespread disruptions to power, travel, and classes, affecting thousands of people. 

The Ministry of Emergency Situations extended the emergency warning for dangerous weather into Thursday evening, March 12, covering almost all settlements in the region.

The storm dumped heavy snow which covered roads, causing traffic, particularly in the southern area. About 2 000 inhabitants were left without power as well, but emergency crews had started working on restoring electricity.

Local reports said the winds were almost hurricane-force, with some places reporting gusts up to 119 km/h (74 mph).

Classes were interrupted, as well as transport. The snowfall caused disruption to ferry services connecting the mainland with Sakhalin and canceled or delayed more than 20 flights at Yuzhno-Sakhalin airport.

"In Yuzhno-Sakhlainsk, 18 mm (0.7 inches) of precipitation fell, gusts of wind reached 64 to 72 km/h (40 to 45 mph)," stated in the city hall site.

A bus boarding 45 passengers got stuck in a snowdrift near the village of Vzmorye. The vehicle was stuck deep in the snowdrift that emergency services were not able to pull it out.

As a result, passengers were rescued and evacuated to the nearest school, where they were provided with food and drinks. However, their journeys were still hampered by the severe weather.

The government of the island region said the passengers will not be able to continue their journey until the weather gets better.

Meteorologists said the weather will begin to see improvements on Friday, March 13, when the storm begins to head north of the region.

Featured image credit: World 24/YouTube


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