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Moscow braces for major winter storm and record snow, Russia

moscow-braces-for-major-winter-storm-and-record-snow-russia

Moscow is bracing for a major winter storm set to bring record-breaking snow to the Russian capital beginning Thursday, February 11, 2021, until about Sunday, February 14, making it the longest snowfall in the city since 2018. The snowfall total from Friday to Sunday was forecast to reach up to 40 cm (16 inches)– but with about 35 cm (13.8 inches) already blanketing the city, the snow depth may hit or surpass the record high of 77 cm (30 inches) set in 2013.

A powerful winter storm will descend on Moscow on Thursday afternoon, and the amount of snowfall is forecast to be huge.

"It will keep falling and falling without ceasing. [It will be] a real snow collapse- nothing of this kind occurred in recent years," Roman Vilfand, research director of the Russian state weather service, told TASS.

The depth of snow may increase to 50 to 55 cm (19.7 to 21.6 inches), nearing record-high figures.

The thickest snow layer registered in Moscow on February 14 was 60 cm (23.6 inches).

"This is a real snowstorm, snow Armageddon, snow apocalypse– this is not a training drill, but real combat," Yevgeny Tishkovets, the leading meteorologist at the Fobos weather center, told RIA Novosti news agency.

Tishkovets noted that winds could reach speeds of 54 to 72 km/h (33.5 to 44.7 mph), while temperatures may drop to as low as -15 °C (5 °F).

Marina Makarova, a spokeswoman for Russian meteorological service Roshydromet, told AFP that the storm is a continuation of the "Beast from the East"– a storm that ripped through Europe over the previous week. 

Snowfall totals from Friday to Sunday may reach up to 40 cm (16 inches). With some 35 cm (13.8 inches) already engulfing Moscow, the snow depth in the city could approach or exceed the record high of 77 cm (30 inches) set in March 2013. According to meteorologists, the period of snow will also be the longest in the city since 2018.

The snow onslaught comes amid some of Moscow's coldest weather in a decade as temperatures are dropping to -20 °C (-4 °F) this month.

Meanwhile, weather experts blamed last year's unusually warm winter on climate change but noted that this year's weather falls closer to past winter averages for Moscow.

"The abnormally warm Moscow winter of last year was more of a direct consequence from climate change rather than this February's cold," Anatoly Tsygankov, head of the weather service's situational center, told The Moscow Times. 

Featured image credit: Sergey Kilsunov/Flickr

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