‘Snowmageddon’ brings nation’s capital to a standstill

By Calvin Palmer

A huge blizzard has covered parts of the East Coast in two feet of snow and brought Washington DC to a virtual standstill.

President Barack Obama called it “Snowmageddon” as he addressed the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting this morning.

The storm stretched thousands of miles from eastern Indiana into Pennsylvania and then down through Maryland as far south as North Carolina.

The snow brought power outages affecting 200,000 residents and caused the roof of a private jet hangar at Washington Dulles International Airport to collapse.

“It’s pretty rough out there,” said Ed McDonough from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

“The roads are very difficult to travel and we are seeing a spike in power outages,” McDonough said. “We are telling residents to stay home, enjoy the time with their families and let the highway crews do their work.”

Two people, a father and son, were killed last night when they stopped to help a car that had spun out of control. The two were hit by a tractor-trailer that jack-knifed into them on a busy highway.

“We are working numerous traffic crashes and responding to multiple disabled vehicles as the winter storm makes its way across the state,” Virginia State police said in a statement.

All flights out of the capital’s Reagan National airport were canceled, along with most flights out of Dulles International Airport in Virginia, while there was a limited service at Baltimore.

Bus services in Washington DC were suspended and above-ground subway stations closed.

Amtrak canceled many trains in its Northeast corridor from Richmond to New York.

All postal operations — collection, delivery and retail — in the Washington area, including the Northern Virginia suburbs and suburban Maryland, were canceled today.

“There is a point where we have to think about the safety of our employees and our customers,” said Patrick Murphy, a United States Postal Service spokesman. “It’s very difficult to move the mail between the plants right now.”

The National Weather Service has put the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area under a rare 24-hour blizzard warning until 10:00 pm today.

“We’re calling for 25 inches, which is still high on the rankings,” said meteorologist Matthew Kramer.

Kramer added that an upper low pressure system would dump another four to eight inches of snow on the region before the day was over.

Elkridge, southwest of Baltimore, reported the highest snowfall total — 32 inches – with more to come.

[Based on reports by AFP, The New York Times and The Washington Post.]

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