Tags: snow | Washington | storm | freeze

DC Closes Down as East Coast Braces for Blizzard

Image: DC Closes Down as East Coast Braces for Blizzard Visitors pause on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as snow falls in Washington on Jan. 21.

Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 07:17 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The nation's capital was set to grind to a halt on Tuesday as federal government offices closed due to a blast of arctic winter weather, which is expected to freeze the Eastern seaboard for nearly a week.

Many government employees were told to work from home where possible, The Washington Post reported. Others were given the day off.

The storm could dump up to 8 inches in Washington, D.C., with 10 inches expected in the Baltimore area, and up to 14 inches in parts of New York and New Jersey, with slightly less in Boston, television networks are reporting.

Many schools were closed or preparing for early dismissals. But it wasn't all good news for the young. Schools in some areas, including Fairfax County, Va. will open on Presidents' Day to make up for the lost day.

Snowfall will be as heavy as 1 to 2 inches per hour in some regions, starting in the morning in Washington and spreading to New York by mid-afternoon.

The snow accumulation is expected to freeze many of the affected areas — which stretch from Virginia to New England — for nearly a week. Extreme cold and wind are expected to accompany the storm with temperatures falling into the single digits to near zero by Tuesday evening, but it could feel as cold as 10 degrees below zero in New York with the wind chill factor, according to NBC News.

The fast-moving front was due to plunge the Midwest into a deep freeze, forecasters said. Temperatures below freezing are expected as far south as northern Florida.

The high in and around Minnesota and the St. Lawrence Valley will not top zero Fahrenheit during Tuesday's daylight hours, forecaster AccuWeather said.

"Travel conditions will deteriorate with slippery roads and flight delays expected to unfold even in areas that avoid heavy snow," AccuWeather said.

The cold front across the eastern half of the country could drop up to 2 inches of snow from the Dakotas to the Ohio Valley. The snow will increase as the cold air picks up moisture near the Atlantic coast, AccuWeather said.

For parts of the region, the snow could be the heaviest of the winter. Washington could see its most snow since January 2011, when about 5 inches fell, AccuWeather said.

The National Weather Service said the cold air would produce snow downwind from the Great Lakes.

The polar front will be 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. In the middle of the cold front on Monday, Grand Marais, Minn., recorded -17F, the lowest temperature in the United States outside Alaska, the weather service said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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