A major winter storm is expected to descend on Moscow this week with massive snowdrifts and unusually cold air temperatures even by the Russian capital’s standards, forecasters said Wednesday.
Snow is expected to blanket Moscow beginning Thursday afternoon and lasting into the weekend, Russian weather service chief Roman Vilfand told the state-run TASS news agency.
He also forecast the accumulation of some of the tallest snowdrifts since February 2018, when snow cover neared 50 centimeters.
“This is a real snow storm, snow Armageddon, snow apocalypse — this is not a training drill, but real combat," Yevgeny Tishkovets, the leading meteorologist at the Fobos weather center, told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
Moscow is bracing for the snowy onslaught amid some of the decade’s coldest weather, with temperatures plummeting to minus 20 degrees Celsius this month.
Experts linked last year’s unusually warm winter to climate change but noted that this year’s weather hews closer to past winter averages for the Russian capital.
“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.
“In fact, this winter is more closely related to what a real winter in Moscow should usually look like,” Tsygankov said. “Weather is not always a direct consequence of climate change.”