POWERFUL STORM HITS BLACK SEA REGION
A weekend storm that pounded the Black Sea region toppled trees, tore down power lines and flooded coastal areas of southern Russia and Ukraine, leaving more than a half-million people without power Monday, officials and media reports said. The Moscow region, meanwhile, was blanketed with snow that piled drifts up to 25 centimetres, the Tass news agency said. The storms were part of a weather system that created blizzard-like conditions in Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and Serbia on Sunday, dumping snow and causing power outages and fatal traffic accidents. Emergency conditions were declared in several regions of the Crimean Peninsula, Tatyana Lyubetskaya, a Russia-installed official at the Crimean environmental monitoring department, told Tass. With strong winds forecast to continue Monday, Crimean officials told people to stay home as government facilities, including schools and hospitals, were closed.