Page last updated at 23:07 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Russian capital Moscow covered by record 63cm snowfall

A tractor clears snow on Red Square, 22 February
The snow was due to clear by Tuesday

Thousands of snow-clearing machines have been working to dig the Russian capital Moscow out of a record-breaking fall of 63cm (nearly 25 inches).

After a weekend of heavy snow showers, the regional weather centre announced that the previous record of 62cm, set in 1966, had been broken.

Snow ploughs were due to make three clean sweeps of the city on Monday.

Drivers were asked to leave their cars at home but rail services are said to have been unaffected by the weather.

A Moscow railway spokesman said that 4,471km (2,778m) of track had been cleared of snow on Sunday.

In all, about 15,000 snow-clearing machines were deployed in the city of about 10.5 million people, backed by 8,500 dump trucks and about 5,500 street-sweeping personnel.

Monday's three scheduled sweeps were due to take place at 1000 (0700 GMT), 1300 and 1700.

A police source told Interfax news agency that Muscovites had largely heeded calls to avoid driving and there had been no significant increase in traffic accidents.

Weather forecasters were predicting that the snow would die out overnight, with Tuesday set to be a clear day.

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