Many parts of Russia were badly affected by the freezing rains and gust winds on November 18 and 19, which caused major power outages, traffic chaos, and disruption of key infrastructure systems in the Far East area.
The Pacific coastal city of Vladivostok, Russia had a storm of freezing rain and its gusty winds blew an inch of frozen precipitation. The incident prompted powerlines to drooped over roads and trees as the weight of the ice became too heavy. Such an incident caused a major power outage to approximately 150,000 residents in the region.
The freezing rain started on November 18 in central parts of the country which affected Moscow and its region, including Kaluga, Smolensk, and Tula.
The Siberian Times, a local media referred to the weather event as “weather apocalypse”.
The severe snow also caused the power plant Vostochnaya Combined Heat and Power Plant to halt as the Energy Ministry exercises special control over power supply in the Primorsky Region, the Russian News Agency said.
Travelers in the easternmost parts of Russia had difficulty as airport runways and planes had to be de-iced, while drivers had to clean the sheets covering their windows and windshields.
A video that has gone viral showed a man who almost lost his life while clearing snow from his windshield when a concrete slab fell into his vehicle. The man escaped the fatal incident unharmed.
Freezing Rain Explained
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty, about 25 mm (an inch) of precipitation fell at that time, mostly freezing rain. Upon reaching the frozen surface, the rain immediately froze as overnight temperatures were particularly low. Douty added that the cold condition is expected to last for a longer time. A bit of sunshine however may aid in melting the snow.
The freezing rain and the heavy snow in Russia closed many bridges and roads. Schools and kindergartens were also closed.
Moscow airport reportedly canceled around 30 flights.
Vladivostok and most of the Primorye region became frozen land.
Around 900 blocks of flats were without electricity in Vladivostock, while around 120,000 people reported problems with heating, light, and water in flats and private households.
As overnight temperatures are expected to drop as low as -16 C (4 F), the power outage poses a dangerous situation for those without heat and electricity.
Regional Governor Oleg Kozhemiako through his social media page, urged residents to take extra precautions and stay at home as much as possible as the below freezing weather and freezing rain is expected to worsen. He also asked parents and guardians not to take children to school and asked company managers to encourage remote work to ensure safety of residents.
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