Date: 26.12.2014 / to news list
Moscow was gripped by the worst gridlock ever seen as unexpectedly severe snowfall hit the Russian capital on Christmas Day, literally paralyzing the city. Police registered up to 500 road accidents an hour and 200 flights were delayed.
The longest traffic jam stretched 60km, or over 37 miles, Russia’s online road traffic monitoring service Yandex Probki (Yandex traffic jam), reported.
Yandex rates jams from 0 to 10 points.
"Guys, remember this historic day. It is the first time when 10 points was reached so early and for so long. It has been like that for 7 hours already. More is to come,” Yandex spokeswoman Elina Staviskaya posted on Facebook.
More than 11,000 units of specialized equipment have been struggling to cope with such a large snowfall (25cm, 10 inches) in so short a period.
These largely futile efforts have failed to help the situation on the roads. The congestion worsened in the evening when huge numbers of people left their workplaces and began to head home.
Near zero visibility and atrocious road conditions caused numerous accidents.
By 5pm, traffic police reported that in just one hour they had registered over 500 accidents, 45 of them serious.
Commuters have been advised to walk. In many cases it was nearly impossible to reach Metro stations by bus.
While stuck in traffic some people tried not to lose their sense of humor. Using the Yandex Probki mobile application, many started chatting and leaving funny notes for fellow drivers on the map.
“Let’s eat snow and clean roads,” suggested one driver. Another proposed to go back to their offices and having a party.
“Join us in the blue bus. We’ve been here since 8:00,” others wrote. Somebody begged Father Frost (Russian Santa Claus) to give a siren as a gift for New Year, hoping it would help.
Drivers handed over food and water, joked and cursed the weather. Numerous people stopped to help fellow commuters who were stranded in the snow.
Moscow airports were also affected by the blizzard conditions. Over 20 flights were canceled and nearly 200 flights delayed. Some passengers said they were stuck on planes for hours as the aircraft were unable to taxi.
Moscow public services began working early in the morning and will “continue round the clock,” authorities say. They promised that by Friday morning all the snow will be cleared.