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Heavy Snowfall Delays Hundreds of Flights

Moscow was hit by more than 20 centimeters of snow Thursday, causing hundreds of flights to be delayed at the capital's three major airports.

Delays affected both arrivals and departures, according to the online information boards for Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, 66 inbound and 33 outbound flights were delayed at Domodedovo, while two flights had been canceled and 60 had their schedules altered.

At Sheremetyevo, 15 flights were canceled, 12 were delayed for an unspecified time period and 15 were experiencing minor delays. In addition, 22 incoming and four departing flights were delayed at Vnukovo.

Snow squalls began Wednesday afternoon in Moscow and the Moscow region, prompting the Emergency Situations Ministry to issue a warning of possible blizzard conditions, news reports said.

Commenting on efforts to battle the snowstorm, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin thanked Muscovites for heeding advice to travel by public transportation and said authorities had deployed roughly 12,000 snowplows.

“In general, the city is functioning normally if we don't consider a slight deterioration in the traffic situation due to a multitude of accidents,” Sobyanin said, Interfax reported. “Nevertheless, we are providing clear passage on all Moscow streets,”

Traffic was snarled all over the city Thursday despite the cleanup efforts. At 6 p.m., traffic was at a 9 out of 10 on the Yandex.Probki scale, meaning “at a standstill.”

Weather forecasters estimated that up to 40 centimeters of snow fell Wednesday and Thursday. They predicted that snowfall Friday morning could add 2 to 4 centimeters to the already-swollen drifts that have developed around much of the capital and outlying areas.

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