Powerful Oceanic Cyclone Sweeps Sakhalin and South Kurils - 29 March, 2003

A powerful oceanic cyclone has swept Sakhalin island and the string of the South-Kurils islands. Poor weather reached its climax last night bringing strong wind and heavy snow.

The Sakhalin department of the hydrometeorology centre reported on Saturday (the time difference between Moscow and the administrative centre of the Sakhalin region, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, is 9 hours) that now the wind gusted at 25 metres a second. Almost 50 centimetres of precipitation have fallen on southern Sakhalin.

A storm warning was issued before the cyclone came to the Sakhalin island.

All seaports of Sakhalin have halted loading operations because of a stormy wind. After the warning was issued cargo and fishing vessels hid in bays and harbours.

Now the cyclone, which is on its way to the north, is leaving Sakhalin and the South Kurils. The epicentre of the natural disaster is moving to the Pacific Ocean, so on Sunday the islands are expected to see good weather.

Weathermen forecast that later today the cyclone will reach the North Kurils and Kamchatka.

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