Russia: "All Snow is in Samara!"

Global Voices Online
Friday, February 1, 2008

Inspired by Amira Al Hussaini's post on the cold spell in the Middle East, I've decided to do a roundup of the Volga region bloggers' reactions to (and their photos of) the record snowfall that paralyzed the city of Samara and trapped hundreds of cars on the Samara-Ufa highway last week, forcing local authorities to declare state of emergency.

LJ user vas-ska posted two photos (that looked more like abstract painting at first) of cars buried under the snow and declared this (RUS) on Jan. 25:

All snow is in Samara!

According to a report (RUS) posted on Samara's official portal on Jan. 29, some 7,000 tons of snow had been transported out of the city the day before. user _azum_ posted this report (RUS) on Jan. 25:

In the past three days, two monthly norms of snow have fallen in Samara.


The scariest part is that ambulances can barely function. It takes them around three hours to arrive, because cars get stuck and doctors have to walk. Also, people say that many stores have run out of bread. And they can't get more delivered because trucks cannot get through.

And the most terrible thing is that highway M5 has come to a halt from [Syzran] to [Penza]. It stands still literally. Such a multi-kilometer jam has been there for 25 hours already. The cars have been able to pass only 30 km in this time!!! Both trucks and small cars are stuck there. They all have almost run out of gas and food.


They say that the last time something like this happened was 20 years ago!!!!! user ~i-am-supergirl posted more photos of snow-covered cars - and wrote this (RUS) of their owners' ordeal:

The Day After Tomorrow movie started the day before yesterday

[...] Only the most stubborn have managed to dig their cars out (from my backyard, only one neighbor - an ER doctor - left on time, in the morning, after working hard to get the car out and clean the snow off the road). Hmm... and there's nowhere to park, too. But why am I telling you all this? Take a look yourself (all snow piles are actually my neighbors' cars).

[five photos]


Here's a report (RUS) from Saratov, which has also been hit by the blizzards, and yet another car picture from Samara, by LJ user ptath:

For the second day, the city's traffic is practically paralyzed. The amount of snow makes up for the bare asphalt of the previous months.

The problem is that snow isn't being cleared away from the roads. Not at all. In these two days, I've only seen snow cleaning equipment twice, and it was standing there idle. All the roads, including the city's main streets, are covered with 10-30 cm of thick snow - with ice underneath.


Everyone's late for work, but no one's asking any questions.


The governor and the city authorities are on TV, announcing cheerfully that this year they've managed to avert the crisis, and that 70 items of snow cleaning equipment are busy at work on the streets (of their government cottages perhaps), and that traffic police control problematic intersections (partly true), and that there are no traffic jams (a statement meant for the elderly people who aren't leaving their houses).


Finally, a photo from Samara, where similar problems are taking place:


A friend's car that spent 7 hours buried in snow. He dug it out, but was still forced to walk to work - because all the roads are covered with snow piles.

More Samara photos: from LJ user kotty - here; from LJ user ez-listening - here.

A video reposted on YouTube from the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper - here.

Finally, a few photos and notes on the weather in Samara from Dmitri Minaev of De Rebus Antiquis Et Novis, a Russian history blog:

Beg your pardon for this little digression. The weather's getting really nice here. I always loved winters and it's been a long time since I saw a good blizzard. It started two days ago and still continues.


[In response to a sympathizer's comment]

I hope it stays that way till April! :)



[In response to another comment]

[...] This weather is very much like what I remember since childhood. If my memory serves me right, it's always been like this, except for the last 20 years when even the weather changed for the worse. [...]

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