Hotspots and Incidents » Disasters, catastrophes
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Incredible amount of snow to result in a massive spring flood in Moscow

The current weather in Moscow is very typical for winter - there is no vestige of approaching spring at all

Recent news reports about monstrous floods, which destroyed cities and even territories in Southeast Asia, seemed almost unreal for Muscovites. It is hard for a Moscow resident to imagine a natural disaster of that scale indeed, taking into consideration the fact that Moscow has never suffered from monstrous floods. This year, however, Muscovites will probably have to get acquainted with the destructive power of water.

The Russian Emergency Ministry has already prepared a special plan to evacuate the population of the capital in the spring of 2005. The plan will have to be put in effect in the event a sudden rise in temperature will thaw an incredibly large amount of snow, which has been accumulated in Moscow this past winter. The Russian winter of 2004-2005 has set the absolute record over the recent ten years: about 250 million cubic meters of snow have covered the territory of Moscow and the Moscow region. Experts of the Moscow committee for floods say that if the temperature rises up to 15 degrees above zero and stays on this level for two or three weeks, the situation may get out of control. Thawing snow and ice will fill Moscow districts and streets with water that will cause serious damage to buildings, underground parking areas, garages, etc all across the city. 

Moscow's eastern district will become the most problematic part of the city, spokespeople for the Ecological Institute say. The spring flood may inundate about 89 percent of the district's territory. The vast amount of water in the city might destroy city pavements and building foundations too. Such incidents already occurred in 1998, when a huge hole was formed in the middle of Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street in Moscow.

Moscow received the largest amount of snow in winters of 2001 and 1966. The current snow layer in Moscow reaches approximately 60 centimeters. It will start melting at the end of the current week, when spring finally reaches Moscow and the temperature rises to about five degrees above zero. The current weather in Moscow is very typical for winter: nights are still freezing, it still snows and there is no vestige of approaching spring at all.