Snowed under

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Dec. 12, 2012, 4:04 p.m. |
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A Ukrainian police officer speaks on Dec. 11 on a mobile telephone at a souvenir shop decorated with medieval armors, where he found shelter from heavy snow in Kyiv.

It’s been almost two weeks since Ukraine’s сapital Kyiv has been blanketed with deep and continuing snowfalls, combined with above-and-below freezing temperatures. The conditions have made life treacherous for everyone, whether in car and or on foot.

The city is almost paralyzed with the traffic jams, prompting city authorities to impose a parking ban in the city center, effective Dec. 12. However, like many edicts, the ban appears to be routinely flouted.

Pedestrians, meanwhile, have to contend with unshoveled sidewalks and snowdrifts. When the temperatures are below freezing, they risk slipping and falling and getting seriously hurt. When it's slushy, their feet and pants simply get wet. The dangers are from above also, with snow and ice crashing from rooftops.

Due to heavy snowfalls and the potential threat to the capital's business and utilities, an emergency situation been in place this week in Kyiv.

On Dec. 11 alone (with snow continuing on Dec. 12), Kyiv got 30 centimeters of snowfall. Since Dec. 3,  Kyiv has received nearly 10 centimeters of precipitation -- more than double the usual for teh month.

Kyiv meteorologist Mykola Kulbida says Kyiv hasn’t seen such a snowfall since the winter of 1930.

The city’s health department reported that more than 500 people came to the municipal hospitals with injuries related to cold weather and heavy snowfalls.

Daryna Shevchenko

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