A large snowball fight breaks out on The Mall in Washington
after a powerful winter storm hit the US East Coast.
A powerful winter storm hit the US East Coast on Monday
with freezing rain, snow and arctic cold, forcing cancellation
of about 2,250 flights, shutting down Washington and closing
schools and local governments.
The latest of a series of weather systems to pummel the
winter-weary eastern United States, the storm was expected to
blanket the US capital with up to 23cm of snow as it swept
from the Mississippi Valley to the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic
states, the National Weather Service said.
Brian Hurley, a weather service meteorologist, said
temperatures would be about 15degrees Celsius below normal as
a cold front gripped from the Great Plains to the Atlantic
Although the snow is expected to bypass northern cities
including New York and Boston, by early on Monday New York's
temperature had already peaked at -5C, he said.
"This is yet another in a series of arctic outbreaks all
winter," Hurley said.
Freeze warnings were in place from the Canadian border into
Texas. The main electric grid operator for most of Texas
issued a conservation alert due to expected higher power
The storm shrouded the Capitol in snow and prompted the US
government to shutter its Washington area offices, keeping
hundreds of thousands of federal workers at home. Congress
put off scheduled votes because of the bad weather.
The governors of New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi and
Tennessee declared states of emergency, and schools and local
governments throughout the area closed. Maryland state
offices shut down and West Virginia state workers were on a
In Philadelphia's downtown Gallery mall, Juanita Thomas, 57,
was waiting to go to her local bank, which planned to open
two hours late due to the storm. She had no complaints about
the repeated snowstorms that have clogged the city's streets
and shut down schools.
"I wish it would have snowed on Christmas for my grandkids,"
Thomas said. "God's giving it all to us now."
About 2,250 flights were cancelled and 1,200 were delayed on
Monday because of the storm, according to the airline
tracking site FlightAware.com.
The worst-hit airport was Washington's Reagan National, where
almost two-thirds of flights were called off. The ripple
effect from cancellations and delays is expected to have an
impact on air travel across the United States.
"Snowfall rates at the height of the storm may reach 5cm per
hour, causing the snow to quickly clog major interstates,"
the AccuWeather forecasting service said.
At least two weather-related deaths, both from traffic
accidents, were blamed on the wide-ranging storm over the
On the West Coast, a weather front will move onshore over the
Pacific Northwest and northern California through Tuesday,
bringing much-needed rain and snow to the region, the
National Weather Service said.
Snow is also expected over parts of the Rocky Mountains and
the northern Great Plains, it said.
A major highway linking Dallas to Houston, Interstate 45, was
turned into a parking lot for hours on Sunday due to an ice
storm that halted traffic.