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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gray Skies To Darken In Moscow

Storms with strong gusty winds, hail and heavy rains are expected in Moscow and the surrounding region Tuesday and Wednesday, the Moscow mayor's office warned Monday.

The mayor's press service called on businesses and citizens to closely follow weather reports on the radio.

RTR television reported that Moscow residents could expect between 10 and 15 millimeters of precipitation Tuesday.

On Monday afternoon, winds raging at speeds up to 20 meters per second broke windows and tore the roofing from retail kiosks and outdoor cafes in the city's southwestern neighborhoods. According to Itar-Tass, the storm peaked shortly after the municipal emergency situations department had issued a weather advisory.

A department spokesman said the powerful winds also knocked down two tall cranes at a construction site in the Moscow suburb of Zelenograd, according to an Interfax report. One of the cranes fell directly onto a building that was under construction and destroyed its top floor. The second crane smashed several trailers used by construction workers.

Rescuers searched Monday evening for a crane operator who they believed might be trapped under the rubble, but no other injuries were reported as a result of the bad weather.

Several fallen trees blocked traffic in different parts of the city, and emergency workers were forced to postpone the demolition of a downtown building that had begun crumbling Saturday.

Thus far, the storm has come nowhere close to matching the destructive force of the freak storm that hit Moscow in June 1998.

During that storm f which raged for about 30 minutes, uprooting trees, smashing windows and flattening small shops f winds were recorded at 90 kilometers per hour, and whirlwinds in some places gusted much higher, according to the Moscow weather center.

At least 10 people in Moscow and the Moscow region were killed, according to a spokeswoman from the mayor's office. And the Emergency Situations Ministry reported that over 170 people had been injured.

The Bolshoi Theater, Kremlin walls and Moskva Hotel near Red Square had all been damaged.

Cleanup work continued for more than a week after the anomalous storm and, within days, the assessment of the damage had risen above $165 million.

Devastated by that storm's consequences, City Hall and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov had slammed the local weather center for failing to predict the storm's fierceness.