NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The winter storm came and went. Now comes the hard part: getting rid of it all.
Hampton Roads is starting to dig out from about a dozen inches of snow that came from a coastal storm that was dubbed a "bomb cyclone." The strong nor'easter knocked out power for thousands -- mostly in Virginia Beach -- and closed schools and businesses for at least one full day.
The "bomb cyclone" comes from "bombogenesis," which occurs when a storm's central barometric pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. (A millibar is a way of measuring pressure.) The lower the pressure, the more powerful the storm.
See Also: 'Bomb cyclone' batters East Coast
This storm’s pressure dropped 53 millibars in 21 hours, Weather Channel meteorologist Jon Erdman said, which ranks it among the most explosive East Coast storms ever seen.
In Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach may have gotten the full brunt of the storm as it roared ashore, knocking out power to tens of thousands of residents. Landstown High School was opened as an emergency shelter for those who were left in the cold and the dark.
Winter wonderland along the Boardwalk
At the Oceanfront, the wind gusts were particularly potent coming off the water. The tourist hotspot was virtually unrecognizable, but the snowy conditions did draw some people in.
"It's awesome," described Jeremy Bashinsky watching the ocean waves churn along the beach. "I mean, you see the waves hitting on the jetties. There's ice on everything. It's pretty cool. You see hurricanes here all the time, but you don't see this all the time."
But the roads are icy and dangerous. Still, it wasn't enough to keep people away.
"It's a nice view," said Jose Trujillo. "No matter what the weather is, that's why I come over here to take some pictures."
These brave souls endured wind gusts up to 55 miles an hour, whipping wind and snow that left tens of thousands of people in Virginia Beach without power.
But some people see it as the glass half full.
"No, no, let's get out in the snow!" said Joshua Salton. "Let's make some snowmen. Let's have a snowball fight. Let's get out here, let's do it!"
Treading lightly on the roads
The storm extended well inland, to the Peninsula and beyond.
Newport News and Hampton saw between eight and 10 inches of snow.
Cleanup road crews are focusing on overpasses and bridges and the main roads like Jefferson Avenue, Warwick Boulevard, and Mercury Boulevard.
Despite the poor conditions of the road, many still braved trips to the gas station, grocery stores, and just going to work.
"You still slide, but you can hold your own if you know what you doing," said Solica Fields.
Her huge truck was able to navigate around Newport News. We caught up with her filling her tires up with air at 7-Eleven.
"Anybody need a ride? This the best investment I made!" she said. "I didn't shovel snow. I just got in, warmed it up for 20 minutes, and pulled out."
See Also: Snowstorm on the Eastern Shore
While the snow may have stopped, the challenge many Public Works crews will continue to face are the frigid temperatures. Expect it to take time before the roads are clear.
Crews on the Peninsula will continue working 12-hour shifts until the work is done.
USA TODAY contributed to this report.
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