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    Heavy storm hits Russia's Far East, state of emergency declared

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    A heavy storm that hit the Primorye Territory in Russia's Far East Sunday has paralyzed the region and prompted local authorities to declare a state of emergency, the press office of the regional administration said Monday.

    VLADIVOSTOK, March 5 (RIA Novosti) - A heavy storm that hit the Primorye Territory in Russia's Far East Sunday has paralyzed the region and prompted local authorities to declare a state of emergency, the press office of the regional administration said Monday.

    The snowstorm, the most powerful in more than 100 years of weather observations in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok in March, disrupted transportation and power supplies in several areas in the region's south, leaving some 2,000 people without electricity, the regional authorities said.

    First Deputy Governor Alexander Kostenko has been placed in charge of the regional administration's efforts to restore order in the snowstorm's wake, the administration's press office said.

    "The main task for all of the region's essential services and the emergency ministry's teams is to clear the roads," the press office said.

    The storm has doubled the monthly precipitation norm in the past twenty-four hours, and is expected to continue into Tuesday, local weather officials said.

    All schools have been closed and the heads of local enterprises have been urged to declare Monday a day-off, the press office said.

    The Vladivostok airport has been closed until midnight Monday local time (2:00 p.m. Monday GMT), ferry communication between the region's islands has been suspended and regional bus service has been cancelled, the press office said.

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