Drivers Urged to Use Public Transportation as Snow Bombards Moscow

MTA worker shoveling clumps of freshly fallen snow Wednesday out of a skating rink and onto Red Square.

The snowstorm that paralyzed Europe days ago has made its way to Moscow, prompting the city's authorities to urge drivers to use public transportation to avoid accidents caused by black ice and low visibility.

Pyotr Biryukov, deputy mayor for housing and utilities, said such heavy snowfall occurs in March only once every 50 years. "The last time was in the 1960s," he said in comments carried by Interfax.

By Thursday afternoon, Moscow and the surrounding region is expected to see up to 7 centimeters of snow, the federal weather bureau said, warning of black ice and icicles.

On Friday and Saturday, the snowfall will peak and temperatures will rise to between 1 and 2 degrees Celsius.

Moscow's Transportation Department said heavy snowfall was expected to last till Thursday morning and urged drivers to opt for public transportation rather than travel by private vehicle.

"If you cannot avoid using your car, you are kindly asked to be vigilant, to keep a safe distance [on the road] and observe speed limits, and also to avoid sudden braking," a department spokesperson told Interfax.

"Public services are operating in a high state of readiness and are ready to work around the clock," Biryukov said.