A man shovels snow outside the Patriots Theater at the War
Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A fast-moving winter storm forecast to dump as much as a
foot (30 cm) of snow on the northeastern United States was
expected to disrupt the evening commute for millions of people
along the densely populated coast.
The storm prompted officials to close schools and many
federal government offices in Washington, where about an inch
(2.5 cm) of snow had fallen by early afternoon.
"We are still expecting pretty major impacts on travel for
the afternoon rush hour for both Baltimore and Washington,"
said Carl Barnes, a meteorologist with the National Weather
Winter storm warnings and advisories were in place from the
central Appalachian Mountains north to southern New England,
the National Weather Service said. The area includes all of
the Middle Atlantic states and the busy I-95 highway corridor
from Washington to Boston.
The polar front is expected to drive temperatures in the
eastern half of the United States to from 10 to 25 degrees
Fahrenheit below average (6 to 14 degrees Celsius below
average). Southern New England could get up to a foot (30 cm)
of snow as the cold front picks up moisture from the Atlantic
Ocean, the weather service said.
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers in Washington were
ordered to stay home ahead of what was forecast to be the
heaviest snowfall in three years. City schools and offices
also shut down, and the White House called off its Tuesday
But the Supreme Court remained open to hear cases, and
organizers of the annual anti-abortion March for Life said
Wednesday's rally would go on regardless of weather.
In Washington, more than 200 plows were deployed and transit
worker Marcus Johnson readied for a long day clearing snow as
he scattered salt outside a Metro subway station entrance.
"Sometimes snow is coming down so fast ... it feels like a
losing battle," said Johnson, 24.
State governments in Delaware and Maryland shut down and
Connecticut sent nonessential state workers home beginning at
3pm (local time). The Maryland Transit Administration cut
back rail and bus services.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Virginia Governor
Terry McAuliffe warned residents not to travel if they did
not have to. Malloy encouraged private-sector companies to
consider releasing workers early.
The inauguration party for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
on Ellis Island in New York Harbor was canceled because of
the looming storm.
Some schools in North Carolina closed early, and public
schools and colleges were shut across Virginia. Connecticut
closed all its schools for Wednesday, and Hartford, the state
capital, was sending students home early on Tuesday.
About 2,900 flights in the United States had been canceled on
Tuesday, according to FlightAware.com, a tracking service.
The worst-affected airports were Philadelphia International
and New York's LaGuardia.
Forecaster AccuWeather said the cold front would drop
temperatures below freezing as far south as northern Florida.
The entire state of Minnesota was below 0 F (-18 C) early on
While the polar front grips the eastern United States, the
western half will see above average temperatures as a drought
worsens, the Weather Service said.
The polar air is something of a repeat of the cold snap that
gripped much of the United States at the start of the year.
Cold and snow snarled air and road travel, shattered
temperature records and contributed to at least nine deaths.