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Irkutsk airport closed because of snowstorm

April 23, 2012, 13:43 UTC+3

All the departures and the arrivals are delayed until 19:00 local time (14:00 Moscow time)

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IRKUTSK, April 23 (Itar-Tass) — Irkutsk's international airport is closed due to heavy snow. All the departures and the arrivals are delayed until 19:00 local time (14:00 Moscow time), an airport source told Itar-Tass.

More than 20 flights are delayed, including from Moscow and to Moscow. Five planes bound for Irkutsk are at reserve airports in Chita, Bratsk, Ulan-Ude and Krasnoyarsk.

The work to clear the runway of snow is continuing. More than ten machines are used in the work. All the passengers from other cities stay at hotels.

The snowstorm also impeded traffic on roads. The federal M53 and M55 highways and the regional Kachugsky, Alexandrovsky and Baikalsky roads were closed. The opening was expected by 17:00 local time, an Irkutsk bus terminal source told Itar-Tass.

The heavy snowstorms continuing already for about 24 hours seriously damaged electro-transmission lines in the south of the region.

The bad weather disrupted power supply to 16,500 residents in the Irkutsk Region, but it was not halted to industrial facilities, the press service of the Irkutsk electricity distribution company reported.

Twelve electro-transmission lines were damaged and 127 transformer sub-stations did not work as of 13:00 local time (08:00 Moscow time). Seventy one teams, 187 people, were working to repair the lines.

Meanwhile, according to meteorologists, the snow cyclone does not hurry to leave the region. Northwest winds of 14-19 m/sec are expected here this Monday, and the wind speed will reach 20-25 m/sec and up to 28 m/sec in some areas in the southern, central and upper Lena River regions. Heavy precipitation is forecast for the night. According to Hydrometcentre, it will snow until Wednesday.

Before the cyclone came, the snow melted in Irkutsk a few weeks ago. Over the past 24 hours, the precipitation level reached 27 cm, a month' norm.

According to the mayor's office, the city's social facilities work as normal.

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