Snow and ice that had been moving their way across the country since last week, finally arrived in the nation’s Mid-Atlantic region, creating power outages and traffic woes up through the Northeast on Monday.
Snowfalls of up to a foot were recorded in some areas and messy roads caused delays or chain-reaction accidents in several states. The nation’s capital was hard-hit and the federal government allowed workers to come in two hours later than usual or to take unscheduled leave.
The storm appeared to be moving slowly, according to the National Weather Service, creating the possibility that another nasty weather system could follow in the first one’s tracks. Freezing rain and needle-like icy drizzle were expected on Tuesday along the corridor from Washington through New York into Boston.
More than 5,000 flights were canceled or delayed by Monday, according to the website flightstats.com. The storm, which hit Texas particularly hard, forced the cancellation of 2,800 flights on Sunday alone, according to another website, Flightaware.com. Air passengers in the Washington, D.C.-area experienced increasing delays at both Dulles International and Reagan National airports.
Most of the recent cancellations were at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which was still feeling the grip from last week’s ice storm.
Ground traffic fared no better. Multiple vehicle crashes were reported on Interstate 95 in Greenwich, Conn., where the road was closed for several hours. In Maryland, a chain-reaction accident on Interstate 81 in Washington County involved more than 20 vehicles.
Heavy snow in the Philadelphia area led to a fatal crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that led to collisions involving as many as 50 cars. More than two dozen vehicles were involved in another series of crashes on nearby Interstate 78.
Snow totals were larger than had been forecast. Philadelphia, where an inch had been predicted, received 8.6 inches at the airport, more than it had all of last year. A foot of snow was reported in Newark, Del.
Power outages were reported in Virginia, parts of West Virginia, Maryland and the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area following freezing rain, wet snow and sleet. Parts of northwest and southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia got snow, while sleet and freezing rain prevailed west and north of Richmond.
Much of the nation was like an icebox. The weather service reported temperatures of 10 to nearly 30 degrees below average from the Great Lakes to the Lower Mississippi Valley to the Rockies. A cold Santa Ana wind roared through Southern California on Monday.
Nebraska and Iowa also experienced snowfall while thousands of customers lost power in Mississippi because of sleet and freezing rain.