News / USA

Major Snowstorm Blankets US Capital, Nearby States

Residents of the mid-Atlantic US are digging out from a record-setting blizzard that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people and paralyzed Washington DC.

The US Capitol hardly visible in the background, in the middle of a snowstorm, Washington DC, 06 Feb 2010
The US Capitol hardly visible in the background, in the middle of a snowstorm, Washington DC, 06 Feb 2010

Residents of the mid-Atlantic United States face the daunting task of digging out from a record-setting blizzard that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people and led to two deaths.

The winter storm paralyzed the U.S. capital, Washington D.C, and dumped up to 60 centimeters of snow in the area.  It is one of the worst winter storms in the city's history.

From New Jersey south to Virginia, the heavy snow and powerful winds left many homes without electricity, and toppled trees across roads and power-lines.  

Airports were closed and rail service disrupted.  The heavy snow brought down the roof on a hangar at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

States of emergency have been declared across the mid-Atlantic.

The storm lasted for more than 24 hours from Friday into late Saturday, and is being followed by unseasonably cold temperatures, complicating clean-up efforts.

U.S. President Barack Obama called the blizzard "Snowmageddon" -- a play on words combining "snow" and the apocalyptic event in the Bible known as "Armageddon."  Mr. Obama's motorcade was involved in a minor accident as it left the White House grounds during the storm on Saturday.

This the second major snow storm to hit the Middle Atlantic region in less than two months.

Severe weather has also occurred in California where torrential rains touched off mudslides Saturday.  A wall of mud and rock damaged dozens of homes in the Los Angeles area and swept away cars.  No major injuries or deaths were reported.

Wildfires last year made the area vulnerable to mudslides.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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