27 Dec 2010

Freezing rain makes Moscow an ice-rink

6:30 pm on 27 December 2010

Freezing rain has badly disrupted air traffic at Moscow's airports and left more than 400,000 people in and around Russia's capital without electricity.

Rain that immediately turned into ice on the ground caused power failures, the BBC reports, shutting Domodedovo airport for 10 hours and stranding thousands of people.

The power outage, caused by tree branches touching power lines loaded down with ice, was later fixed.

In the meantime, dozens of flights to and from other Moscow airports were cancelled.

Bad weather also turned many streets in the city into ice-rinks. residents were advised to stay indoors and not risk walking outside.

In the city itself, the freezing rain damaged power supplies to trams and trolley buses and caused huge traffic jams.

At an emergency meeting, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered ministers to rectify the situation as soon as possible.