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Snow Hits Moscow as Temperature Plummets

People passing a Christmas tree at the White Square business center Tuesday as a worker climbs on it to finish it. Vladimir Filonov / MT

Snow flurries greeted Moscow drivers heading to work on Tuesday morning as weather conditions sharply deteriorated in what might mark the start of the cold winter season.

About 13 millimeters of rain fell on some Moscow neighborhoods overnight, an amount equal to 22 percent of the normal rainfall for the entire month of November, Interfax reported, citing the Moscow weather bureau.

Rain showers were even more intense in the Moscow region, with 22 mm falling in Klin to the north and 19.5 mm in Kolomna to the southeast.

Rain alternating with snow was forecast for the next 24 hours.

"Snow and rain will fall in Moscow and the surrounding area, and total precipitation should reach 18 to 20 mm by Wednesday morning," a weather bureau spokesman said.

The snow might start to stick to trees and electricity wires late Tuesday, he said.

Drivers were being cautioned to beware of possible sleet amid temperatures of around zero degrees Celsius on Tuesday night.

If the temperature drops below freezing and stays there for more than 36 hours, road conditions could turn icy and prompt traffic gridlock, said Roman Vilfand, director of the federal weather service, according to Interfax.

Weather conditions were expected to continue to worsen from the relatively balmy 5 C enjoyed by Moscow residents on Monday, with the temperature plunging to minus 6 C on Wednesday night.

The temperature, however, will warm up to reach zero degrees throughout the day and night Friday, according to the Fobos weather service. Daily snowfall is predicted for the rest of the week.

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