Freak snowy weather that wrought havoc across Europe hit Russia over the weekend, disrupting air and railway traffic and leaving tens of thousands of people without electricity.

Within minutes, freezing rain coated electricity wires, trees and roads with ice. Power cables snapped, causing massive power outages that affected over 100,000 people around Moscow, and many more in other regions in central Russia.

Russia's busiest airport, Domodedovo, outside Moscow halted all flights on Sunday after power supply was cut. Suburban trains ground to a halt and roads turned into icy paths, leading to numerous traffic accidents. At least one person was killed by a falling tree in the Moscow region and hundreds suffered fractured bones and other injuries on slippery pavements.

Russia's Chief Sanitary Inspector Gennady Onishchenko urged Muscovites to stay home to avoid possible injury.

Weather experts said central regions of Russia experienced a rare weather phenomenon when the air 1.5 km above the ground was warm whereas surface temperatures were below zero Centigrade causing rain drops to freeze as soon as they hit the ground.

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