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Biggest Snowstorm in Years Gives D.C. Region Snow Day

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A man goes airborne while sledding on a local hill  Feb. 13, 2014 in Manassas, Va. The biggest storm of the season dumped a thick snow blanket on the Washington, D.C. area overnight and early Thursday, shutting down the federal government, local schools, courts and government offices, airports and Metros bus service. (Photo credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

A man goes airborne while sledding on a local hill Feb. 13, 2014 in Manassas, Va. The biggest storm of the season dumped a thick snow blanket on the Washington, D.C. area overnight and early Thursday, shutting down the federal government, local schools, courts and government offices, airports and Metros bus service. (Photo credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The nation’s capital and surrounding area shut down Thursday as snow blanketed the region, dumping nearly 9 inches in Washington and more than a foot in other places.

In Washington, residents awoke to find knee-high drifts in some places. Cars were capped in white and the sound of plastic shovels scraping the sidewalk rang out on streets. Many people were staying inside and heeding warnings to stay off the roads, but some residents emerged to walk dogs or exercise.

One man used skis to get around on the National Mall and some people were out planning to build snowmen among the city’s monuments.

Catherine Everitt, 30, bundled up in a coat, knitted hat and sweat pants said she planned to walk the entire length of the National Mall and take pictures. Everitt, who works for a nonprofit and lives near Capitol Hill, said she lives in a basement unit and the snow was already covering her windows.

Other residents like 38-year-old Daniel Saxinger, an operations manager who works downtown, had indoor plans for the day since offices were closed.

“Unfortunately, today I’m going to do my taxes,” Saxinger said.

Photos: Massive Snowstorm Slams DMV

In Baltimore’s Pimlico neighborhood, home to the Preakness Stakes horse race, residents awoke to 15 inches of snow. Snow blowers roared, breaking the quiet of downtown. But every cleared strip created a potential hazard as it quickly iced over. Traffic was light, with some pedestrians taking to the middle of the road. The city’s Baltimore/Washington International Airport had runways open, but all but a handful of flights were canceled, according to spokesman Jonathan Dean.

At Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport outside of the nation’s capital, six inches of snow were reported. The airport was virtually silent Thursday morning, with flights canceled and most vendors closed for business.

Rob Wolcott, 33, of Washington, and his wife were trying to reach St. Kitts for a friend’s wedding on Saturday at which he was supposed to officiate. They were scrambling to find alternate ways south after an earlier flight got canceled.

“Today we would settle for Charlotte or Miami or anywhere south,” he said.

In Frederick, Md., Cory Cheeks worked his pickup through a 4-foot snow pile only to find the road at the end of his hotel parking lot still blocked by snow. The Fredericksburg, Va., resident was reluctantly preparing for a day of online training, convinced he could have driven 30 miles to Rockville for a face-to-face session if his supervisors hadn’t canceled it.

“It’s a very powdery snow. It’s not very heavy at all,” Cheeks said.

At Falls Church Florist in Virginia, owner Mike Flood had his drivers out making residential deliveries despite the snow, scrambling to fulfill 1,000 Valentine’s orders over the next two days.

“It’s a God-awful thing,” he said. “We’re going to lose money, there’s no doubt about it.”

Some D.C. residents relished in the white stuff as they competed in a snow sculpture contest in Dupont Circle.

The contest – held by the Washington D.C. Snowball Fight Association, which also organizes the annual Dupont Circle Snowball Fight – began at 9 a.m. while some snow was still falling.

Participants were encouraged to bring props, and many got creative as they built their very own “Frosty the Snowman.” The winner was given a $50 and $100 gift card.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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