Pictures: Freak Snowstorm in Russia Buries Buildings, Leaves Tens of Thousands Without Power

Record snowfall and freezing temperatures have gripped the Russian capital of Moscow, knocking down thousands of trees, injuring five people and killing at least one.

After an unusually warm first few weeks of winter, a record 17 inches of snow blanketed the nation’s capital in 24 hours on Sunday, causing travel chaos and triggering safety warnings.

02_05 People walk along Red Square, with St. Basil's Cathedral in the background, in central Moscow on February 3. Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

“We asked during our program a few weeks ago, ‘Where is the winter, Where is the cold?'" Russia’s Channel One commented on Monday. Nobody is asking now, it pointed out, declaring it "the snowfall of the century." 

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Russian state meteorologists estimated that on Saturday alone, 7 inches of snow fell on Moscow, beating a record set in 1957 for the heaviest daily accumulation.

As more snow fell Sunday, about 15,000 snowplows were deployed on the streets. Newspaper Moskovskiy Komsomolets warned Monday that travel in Moscow was "hell." 

02_05_Moscow_sno2 People walk their borzois near a cathedral in Kolomenskoye during a Moscow snowfall on February 4. Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

Sergei Sobyanin, mayor of Moscow, announced that a local man died Saturday when a falling tree hit an electric power line. Sobyanin added on Twitter that another five people were injured on Sunday.

02_05_Moscow_snow A bulldozer shovels snow off Moscow's Red Square on February 4. Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images

“The situation on the roads will be difficult,” Sobyanin warned. “It is best to avoid trips in your private car, if possible."

Around 100 flights from Moscow’s airports are grounded indefinitely, and at least 10 have been canceled because of the weather, state news agency RIA Novosti reported on Monday. The Russian capital provided some of the most dramatic pictures, but the weather has affected thousands of Russians elsewhere.

02_05_Moscow_sno3 A man walks during a strong snowfall at Kolomenskoye, near Moscow, on February 4. Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

In Tatarstan, less than 500 miles east of Moscow, around 15,000 people have no power because of snow and wind, RIA reported. Near Penza, less than 400 miles southeast from Moscow, 21,000 have no electricity, while in Saratov, just over 500 miles from the capital, 24,000 people are without power.

02_05_Moscow_sno5 A woman skis during a strong snowfall at Kolomenskoye, near Moscow, on February 4. Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

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