News / Europe

Changing Weather Causes Huge Delays for Russian Travelers

A man sleeps at Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010.
A man sleeps at Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010.

Russia, which usually prides itself on coping with bitter winters, is trying to deal with the  icy conditions that delayed hundreds of flights and left half a million without power. On Monday, many of the flights at Domodedova airport have either been cancelled or delayed.

Moscow is recovering  after a warm front on Saturday night dropped large amounts of ice on the region. Temperatures dropped again late Sunday, causing a heavy snowfall. The result  forced the authorities to  cancel flights and trains in addition to several power outages that authorities are still trying to deal with.

On Sunday, Moscow's main airport, Domodedova, was shut down, by the icy weather for 15 hours due to a power failure.

Olga, who refused to give her last name, says her experience was a nightmare. She says there were no meals, no water, no places for people to sit. There is no transport; nothing was being done for people. She says there was no electricity and that is why all the flights have been cancelled.

Officials blame the outage on the airport's two electricity substations that lost power.  

Artyom, who also refused to give his last name, was another unhappy passenger. He says, the airport authorities  didn't give any explanations. He says he came from Paveletsky train station, and it is not clear how to get  anywhere else. He says he can't understand anything. He questions where are the extra power generators? Why weren't people given necessary things ? The situation is absolutely unclear.

Officials say the situation at Domodedova airport is much better on Monday, although many flights were cancelled or delayed earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, officials  are still scrambling to get power back on in some areas after some 100 thousand customers of the Moscow United Electric Grid Company were left without power.  

Travel at Moscow's two other airports; Sheremetovo and Vnukovo were not affected, according to authorities.

Forecasters say that snow is expected to continue through Tuesday, with temperatures hovering between zero and minus six degrees Celsius.

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