Washington and surrounding areas are digging out after a paralyzing blizzard that dumped more than half a meter of snow, triggering emergency declarations by state officials throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
For nearly two days, the snow fell, and fell, and fell some more. The U.S. capital and surrounding areas received more snow in 36 hours than it usually sees in an entire winter. Local governments fought losing battles to keep roads clear, while residents struggled to free their cars from massive snowdrifts. Most public transportation ground to a halt, and flights to and from Washington were canceled.
WASHINGTON AREA RESIDENT: "I have been in Washington for maybe 30 years, and I think this is probably one of the biggest storms, maybe the biggest we have ever had."
Hundreds of thousands of people lost power to their homes. The weight of the snow caused tree limbs to snap and roofs to collapse. Emergency responders have been hard-pressed to reach those in need.
But what caused grief for many gave others a chance to engage in activities not usually seen in the nation's capital. A Washington landmark, Dupont Circle, became ground zero for a massive, friendly snowball fight that was organized on Twitter and other social networking sites.
Even President Barack Obama took note of the extreme conditions, coining a new phrase.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: "Snow, 'snowmageddon' ] here in [Washington] D.C."
And winter's grip on Washington is far from over. More snow is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.