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      Snow in DC has local impact

      Photo Credit: Annette Pumphrey

      Winter weather has pounded much of the country over the past week, and heavy snow in the Washington, DC area has actually had a local impact.

      Speed skaters from the USOEC in Marquette were gearing up for the American Cup III Short Track when the weight of the snow proved too much for the arena's roof to handle. Skaters had just finished warm-ups and were back in the locker room prepping for their races when the announcement came in to get out.

      "Someone came in and said we have to 'evacuate the rink, everyone grab your stuff.' And we kind of looked around like 'is she being serious?'" said skater, Kelsey Schiel.

      She was being serious. Several coaches noticed that one of the building's support beams had bent under the weight of the snow.

      "We all started panicking a little, and we just threw everything in our bag as fast as we could and just got out of there," said skater, Erin Bartlett.

      According to reports, the cinder blocks around the beam had cracked, and the cold, outside air was blowing in.

      "Me and Erin literally ran out of the building freaking out, because we thought it was falling down right then," Schiel said.

      Everyone got out safely, but less than two hours after the skaters were on the ice, the building collapsed.

      "People really could have gotten hurt, just because the roof collapsed. Of course that's not going to turn out well if anyone's in there," Bartlett said.

      The meet was, of course, cancelled.

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