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An extreme early spring storm will spread a potentially crippling blanket of snow over eastern Europe to western Russia.
Snowfall of 1, 2 and even 3 feet will impede, if not immobilize, travel over parts of Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and western Russia. Strong winds and drifting will magnify the difficulty for residents.
The snowstorm will get underway Friday in western Ukraine, southeastern Poland and southern Belarus, continuing Saturday. Meanwhile, snow will spread across northern Ukraine and into western Russia, where heavy snowfall will last until Sunday.
Some cities along the forecast path of heavy snow are Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kiev in the Ukraine, Homyel in Belarus and Bryansk and Orel in Russia.
Moscow, still mantled beneath 2 feet of snow as of the first day of spring, is expected get the northern edge of the storm Sunday into Monday, when about 6 inches of snow could fall.
Snow is forecast to stay south of the Belarus capital, Minsk.
What is to trigger the massive falls of snow is low pressure, fairly innocuous as it crossed Italy on Wednesday. However, this low will wrap up a strong late-winter storm as it reorganizes east of the Transylvania Alps early Friday.
The winter of 2012-2013 has been outstanding for snowfall over parts of central and eastern Europe, including land in the direct path of the coming blizzard. Winter snowfall is thought by AccuWeather.com meteorologists to have reached about 200 percent of normal in areas from Kiev to Moscow, for instance. Last week, a blizzard unleashed heavy windswept snowfall from Hungary and northwest Ukraine, Belarus and central Russia, including Moscow and Minsk.
A snow drift overhangs a motorist near Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, March 16, 2013. The city and much of Belarus had been swept by a blizzard earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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