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Rescuers in Kamchatka recover about 60 cars from snowdrifts

March 20, 2013, 17:32 UTC+3

A powerful cyclone approached the shores of Kamchatka from the direction of Japan

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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, March 20 (Itar-Tass) – Rescue workers in Kamchatka have recovered from than 60 cars that got stuck in huge snowdrifts at various automobile roads of the territory.

No one was killed or injured in the course of the accidents and no one of the drivers and/or passengers of the snow-trapped cars stood in need of medical aid, Yulia Ananyeva, the press officer of Kamchatka’s branch of the federal Ministry for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense /EMERCOM/ told Itar-Tass.

In the small hours of Wednesday, a severe snowstorm played havoc on 45 cars on the road linking the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and the town of Yelizovo where the territory’s biggest airport is located.

Another 20 cars were blocked on the road between Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and the Paratunka resort known for its superb hot springs. Specialized vehicles were rushed to the roads and some of them were provided by EMERCOM and the military.

By the afternoon, the access to the spots of forced parking was cleared and the drivers managed to go home.

A powerful cyclone approached the shores of Kamchatka from the direction of Japan. The Petropavlovsk and Yelizovo district sustained the main blow of the calamity.

Gusts of wind of up to 28 meters per second were registered and the height of the snow cover gained another 50 centimeters over a period of several hours. In some places, the height of snowdrifts exceeded one meter.

In the meantime, a ban on trips in private cars remained in effect Wednesday afternoon in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Yelizovo. Transport communications with adjoining townships were also disrupted that local commuters had busses were cruising with heavily enlarged intervals.

Many people had to venture to cover the distances between their homes and offices by walking.

At around 18:00 hours local time, the airport at Yelizovo reopened for flights.

At the time of reporting, there was practically no snowfall in Petropavlovsk and the wind was mild enough weather forecasters said a new blizzard might start pounding the peninsula within less than a day.

All the emergency services were functioning in the mode of an emergency operation.

Road maintenance services were working hard during the day to cope with the aftermath of the calamity but the thickness of the snow cover reduced the efficiency of their efforts.

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