Nearly half a million people left without power in Crimea after Black Sea storm

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Almost half a million people have been left without power and one person was killed after a storm in the Black Sea area flooded roads, ripped up trees and took down power lines in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said.

The storm also hit southern Russia and sent waves flooding into the beach resort of Sochi, blew the roof off a five-story building off in Anapa and damaged homes and schools in Kuban, the state news agency said.

It was part of a weather front that earlier left one person dead and hundreds of places without electricity amid heavy snowfall and strong blizzards in Romania and Moldova on Sunday.

The storm prompted several Crimean regions to declare a state of emergency after it became the strongest recorded in the past 16 years with wind speeds reaching 144 kph (almost 90 mph), Tatyana Lyubetskaya, a Russia-installed official at the Crimean environmental monitoring department, told Tass.

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The government in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, told people to stay at home on Monday and closed government offices including schools and hospitals as strong winds are still expected Monday.

The head of one Crimean region, Natalia Pisareva, said everyone in the Chernomorske area of western Crimea had lost water supply as well as central heating because pumping stations had lost power. There were also reports of a problem with a gas pipeline in Saky, western Crimea.

In an aquarium in Sevastopol, around 800 exotic fish and animals died after the room they were in was flooded, the Crimea 24 TV channel reported.

In Russia, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium stopped crude oil loading at the Novorossiysk port Monday due to the “extremely unfavorable weather conditions,” including winds of up to about 86 kph and waves of up to 8 meters (26 feet) in height.

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