Weather Wreaks Havoc in City

MTWorshippers forced to take cover during prayers Friday outside a mosque by the Olympic Stadium on Prospekt Mira.
Torrential rains, heavy winds and lightning wreaked havoc throughout the city and the region over the weekend, knocking down trees, interrupting travel plans and even destroying a monument to Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.

Dozens of travelers missed their flights from Sheremetyevo Airport after lightning struck an electrical station and caused delays on the Aeroexpress commuter line from Savyolovsky Station to the airport, Interfax reported Friday.

The delays began at around 8 p.m. Thursday night, meaning a typically 35-minute trip turned into a 90-minute ride to Sheremetyevo, Aeroexpress spokesman Anton Galatenko said, RIA-Novosti reported. The problem was fixed at around 10:30 p.m., and the company said it would accept complaints submitted by affected passengers, Interfax reported Friday.

Aeroexpress said Friday that it would compensate passengers for their expenses, News.ru reported.

The weather disrupted several other commuter trains between Savyolovsky and the Moscow region.

Passengers waiting to fly into Moscow on Thursday evening were also left stranded or delayed in other cities because of the Moscow weather.

In St. Petersburg, passengers flying on the 8 p.m. Aeroflot flight to Sheremetyevo were told at the check-in desk that the plane was stuck on the tarmac in Moscow because of "technical problems." Some were eventually booked onto a later flight with the Rossia airline, and many said they would miss connecting flights.

Wind and heavy rain toppled 117 trees, and nine cars were damaged throughout the city as of Friday, Interfax reported.

Meanwhile, a wind-felled tree destroyed a monument to Lenin as a schoolboy, RIA-Novosti reported. The brass statue, located at Ogorodnaya Sloboda Pereulok, near the Chistiye Prudy metro station in central Moscow, was knocked from its 1.5-meter-tall pedestal by the tree Thursday night and split into three separate pieces, the report said.

Ten villages in the Moscow region and another 18 in the Tver region were still without power at noon Sunday.

Stormy weather is typical for July, but this year it has been particularly intense, said Dmitry Kiktyov, deputy head of the Hydrometeorological Center.

Typical rainfall in July amounts to around 94 millimeters, but this month already 128 millimeters have fallen, Kiktyov said. Average temperatures for this month are also about 3.5 degrees Celsius above the norm, he said.

There has been a spike in drownings this month, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Sergei Lapin said Friday.

Nine people, most of them drunk, have drowned in Moscow waters this month while trying to cool off in the heat wave that saw temperatures hovering around 30 C last week, Lapin said.

A total of 65 people had drowned across Russia over the span of 24 hours, the ministry reported on its web site Friday afternoon.

Thunderstorms are forecast for Monday and Tuesday in Moscow, with daytime temperatures expected to reach 24 C on Monday and 28 C on Tuesday.

Staff Writer Max Delany contributed to this report.