'Battle of Snomicron': Piling onto chaos, winter snow storm batters United States

A winter storm packing heavy snow and strong winds engulfed parts of the US Southeast and mid-Atlantic states forcing federal offices and schools to close as it threatened to make travel dangerous and knock out power.

Let's take a look:

Freezing weather

Drivers on a major highway outside Washington reported they were stuck in their cars in freezing weather for 24 hours or more. 

The heavy snow accumulated on roadways and power lines, causing treacherous travel conditions and potentially leaving homes and businesses without electricity throughout the region.

(Photograph:AFP)

Air Force One stranded

The storm packed an unexpectedly fierce punch and appeared to have caught much of the capital region off guard, temporarily stranding US President Joe Biden on Air Force One and dumping up to nine inches (23 centimeters) of snow on Washington, and more in parts of Virginia.

(Photograph:AFP)

Flights cancelled and delayed

It further snarled transport hit by flight cancellations due to bad weather and airline staffing woes caused by a record surge in Covid cases.

(Photograph:AFP)

Record snowfall

Three feet (one meter) of snow had fallen in 24 hours on parts of the Sierra Nevada range, taking the total to a record-breaking 16 feet, and bolstering the badly depleted snowpack that feeds the region's reservoirs.

The US west has suffered years of pitiful rainfall, leaving vast swaths of the countryside parched and vulnerable to wildfire.

(Photograph:AFP)

Climate change hitting at full speed

While the US west was laboring under heavy winter weather, Texas was sweltering in an unseasonably warm spell, with the week topping out at a toasty 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius) in Rio Grande Village.

Scientists say human-caused global warming is playing havoc with the climate, making storms more intense and unpredictable, and generating high temperatures in unexpected places.

(Photograph:AFP)

Battle of Snomicron

Opposing armies of snowball fighters pummeled each other on Washington D.C.'s National Mall after a storm unleashed heavy snow on the nation's capital.

In a nod to the coronavirus Omicron variant, the event was dubbed the 'Battle of Snomicron' by the Washington DC Snowball Fight Association, a Facebook group that organizes regular snowball fights.

(Photograph:AFP)

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