Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A blizzard known as "Snowmageddon" buried much of the eastern United States in record depths and shut down the federal government 10 years ago Thursday.
The main brunt of the storm arrived on Feb. 6, 2010, and dumped nearly 30 inches of snow in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia and more than 3 feet in some areas of Virginia. Similar substantial snowfall was seen as far west as Ohio.
Over a 12-day period from Jan. 25 to Feb. 6, which included a smaller storm dubbed "Snowverkill," Washington, D.C., received a record 38.3 inches of snow -- topping a record 34.2 inches set in 1899 over the same period of time. Washington's airports were also buried in new powder -- more than 50 inches at Washington Dulles International Airport and nearly 55 inches at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
February 2010, in fact, was the snowiest month on record in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Atlantic City, N.J.
States of emergency were declared in Washington, D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware and West Virginia as the snow brought down power lines and cut electricity to hundreds of thousands and buried vital roadways in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
"Snowmageddon" was also too much for the federal government, which closed on Feb. 7, but the Senate managed to squeeze in sessions between storms three days later to act on nominations from President Barack Obama, then just a year into his presidency.
Many schools and places of business were shuttered by the mega-storm and some people seized on the opportunity. Hundreds participated in a mass group snowball fight in Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle and snowboarders in Philadelphia used the steps of the Art Museum -- the same ones immortalized by Rocky Balboa in seven films -- as a ski slope.
The response to the snowstorms put a strain on road clearing crews as about a quarter of Washington, D.C., snowplows were out of service and road salt was being rationed by Feb. 9.
Reflecting on the historic storm, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's chief of staff said the city has improved its infrastructure to better prepare for the possibility of similar storms in the future.
"We are much better prepared than we were 10 years ago to deal with a storm the size of Snowmageddon," he said.