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'Snowmageddon' brings chaos to U.S. East Coast as Washington DC braces itself for worst blizzard in


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'Snowmageddon' brings chaos to U.S. East Coast as Washington DC braces itself for worst blizzard in 90 years



By Mail Foreign Service

Last updated at 5:00 PM on 06th February 2010




Washington DC was braced today for the heaviest blizzard in 90 years with 30 inches of snow expected to fall on the U.S. capital tonight.

The ferocious storm was sweeping across the mid-Atlantic coast with mountainous areas of Maryland and West Virginia set to be covered in three feet of snow.

Local media have dubbed the storm 'snowmageddon' and 'snowpocalypse'.




article-0-082CAB42000005DC-726_634x431.jpg Whiter house: Snow covers the US Capitol in Washington DC. The U.S. capital is expecting 30 inches tonight

The weather has crippled all transport services with all flights in the Washington-Baltimore area's airports and at Philadelphia International Airport cancelled.

Driving in the region was treacherous and authorities advised motorists to stay off the roads. Delaware govenor Jack Markell declared a state of emergency and ordered all vehicles off the road by 10pm last night.

Scores of road accidents have been reported already. A father and son were killed in Virginia after they were hit by a lorry while they were trying to help passengers escape a car stuck in a snowdrift.




article-1248956-082D0D04000005DC-439_634x381.jpg Cold trudge: A visitor leaves the warmth of the White House


Washington's Metro train service will operate only underground on Saturday and all bus services have been cancelled.

Train operator Amtrak cancelled a number of services on Saturday between New York and Washington and also between Washington and some destinations to the south.


Carpeted: A residential neighborhood near the US capital is transformed by a blanket of snow

Thousands of homes lost power in the Washington area as the snow weighed down trees and power lines.

Long queues formed outside upermarkets yesterday as frenzied residents rushed to stock up on groceries and other supplies ahead of a traditional parties weekend for Sunday's Super Bowl football game.

One Washington resident described the scene at her local supermarket.



article-1248956-082D0D72000005DC-433_634x395.jpg Take a seat: Snow piled on a bench in a Washington park illustrates perfectly how much has fallen

'I got there at 7am [on Friday] and there were really long queues, Jane Bate, 41, said. 'The place looked like it had been ransacked.'


Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia each declared snow emergencies, allowing them to activate the National Guard to help prepare for the wintry onslaught and cope with its aftermath.

The storm prompted U.S. government offices in the Washington area to close their doors four hours early on Friday.


White night: Snow falls as a couple wend their way through Chinatown in Washington

Unseasonably cold temperatures were expected in the storm's wake next week.







The cold helped boost New York's natural gas market toward winter season highs on Friday, where prices reached about $11.50 per million British thermal units on average, up more than $4 from Thursday.


Grid locked: Rental bicycles are covered with snow in Washington DC

'Once we get through the weekend storm, much colder air will invade the Northeast and mid-Atlantic,' said Jim Rouiller, a senior energy meteorologist at private weather forecaster Planalytics.


'The outlook for the northeast third of the country next week is looking much colder than normal.'

The same weather system brought heavy rains to parts of the southeastern U.S.


Deluge: Snow covers the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington DC.

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