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    Major Snowstorm Slams Russia and Central, Eastern Europe

    March 16, 2013; 5:40 AM ET
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    A major winter storm was ongoing Friday over eastern Europe.

    Snow was falling from the western Ukraine and Slovakia northeastward into Belarus and western Russia.

    Snowfall blanketed Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Thursday and Thursday night while more than 6 inches of rain fell in the lower elevation capital city of Podgorica to the south in Montenegro.

    The storm was winding down in Belgrade, Serbia, on Friday following more than 3 inches of fresh snow in the area. The storm began as a thunderstorm before eventually changing to a heavy snowfall.

    Hungary was also hit hard by this storm with 3-6 inches of heavy wet snow falling around the capital city of Budapest. More than 100,000 homes were reportedly without power across the country.

    Friday brought heavy snowfall to Minsk and Moscow where historic March snowfalls are expected. Snowfall totals of a foot or more will be possible before the storm ends Friday night.

    A high rate of snowfall, potentially 2-3 inches per hour, as well as strong winds and blowing and drifting snow will make this a dangerous debilitating storm-- even a blizzard.

    The storm is expected to weaken as it moves northeastward across Russia on Saturday causing some light snowfall.

    A brief period of tranquil weather is expected across the entire region on Sunday and Monday; however, another storm system will bring unsettled weather by Monday night into Tuesday.

    Thumbnail image: Two elderly Russian women walk over the snow-covered Red Square, with a historical museum building seen at the background, in downtown Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev).

    By Jim Andrews and Eric Leister, AccuWeather Meteorologists

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