The Russian capital is experiencing its snowiest winter in a century, the municipal government's head of community services said Tuesday.

"There hasn't been a winter like this one for 100 years. This year, the amount of snow exceeds the norm by more than 50 percent," said Piotr Biriukov.

The Moscow municipal official said that 216 centimeters (85 inches) of snow have fallen since the start of winter, even though the average for the coldest months is around 152 cm (60 inches).

Since the beginning of February, the Russian capital has been completely covered by a blanket of snow 36 cm (14 inches) deep.

The snow is big news for children, who are always eager to break out their sleds, but it's a big headache for the city's cleaning services, which have to redouble their efforts to keep the sidewalks and streets clear.

The heavy snowfall also causes traffic tie-ups, which are regularly kilometers (miles) long, but the ones that have developed recently have been unbelievable.

Many Moscow residents find themselves forced to leave their cars parked and use the metro, which often reaches its saturation point, despite its more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) of track.

Occasionally, the passengers using public transportation even need to disembark and push, as buses often get stuck in the snow. EFE