Thursday, August 17, 2017

Urals region hit with wave of blizzard conditions over weekend

Last week, the Urals region was hit with an unexpected wave of winter weather conditions, resulting in major traffic jams, flight delays, power failures and school closures.

Weather conditions inexplicably shifted from spring temperatures and increased sunlight to blizzard conditions overnight on Thursday, with residents discovering several inches of snow accumulated on Friday morning, RT.com reports.

"We have snow falling the whole day without stopping," a resident of the Urals wrote on Instagram, according to RT.com. "It's sweeping severely, everything's white. My daughter wanted to go for a snow-tubing ride."

Meteorologists said the amount of snowfall on Thursday night amounted to double the region's average for the month. Moreover, the quick drop in temperatures and accumulated snowfall is expected to have devastating affects on plant life, which had just recently begun to bloom in the area.

Driving conditions in Chelyabinsk were the most affected by the snowfall in the region, with commuters reporting 17-hour traffic jams. Meanwhile, regional police reported 700 car accidents in the Central Urals region since Thursday night. A bus carrying 23 schoolchildren returning to Tyumen from Yekaterinburg for an academic competition had to be evacuated by emergency personnel after sitting in a 25-mile traffic jam for several hours, RT.com reports.

Utility companies estimated that thousands of area residents were left without power after the snow storms disrupted power generators, resulting in school closures throughout the entirety of Chelyabinsk and portions of the surrounding area.

Poor tarmac conditions and power failures also resulted in several flight delays at Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg airports over the weekend, with many travelers waiting up to 16 hours before flight services resumed on Sunday, according to RT.com.

Historians said last weekend's snowfall has been the most severe instance of winter weather during spring since April 26, 1891.