Temperatures plummeted across the U.S. bringing snow, grounding flights and closing schools and government offices as a late winter storm zeroed in on Washington, sparing New York City a direct hit.
As much as 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow may pile up in Washington and Baltimore, the National Weather Service said. Government offices in Washington are closed, the Office of Personnel Management said on its website.
“From the nation’s capital up through Baltimore and into Wilmington will get 6 to 10 inches and close to a foot in some places, especially across central Maryland,” said Carl Erickson, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “In New York, we officially have them in the one-to-three-inch range.”
Plunging arctic air pushed the track of the storm further south than expected days ago, sparing Boston and New York heavy snow, while meaning the corridor from Philadelphia to Washington would take the brunt of the system. Schools in Washington and Wilmington, Delaware, were closed, according to district websites.
Amtrak said it will operate a modified snow schedule today, which will result in fewer trains available on the Acela Express and Northeast regional service. New Jersey Transit warned of cancellations and delays, particularly in the Monday morning commute, because of the weather.
As of 3:38 a.m. in New York, 2,009 flights were canceled, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service. Washington’s Reagan National Airport had at least 500 canceled.
Freezing rain and sleet interfered with de-icing planes at the Texas airport and cancellations built up because it was busy, said Dennis Cavanaugh, a weather service meteorologist in Fort Worth.
Freezing rain and sleet has stopped in Dallas and Fort Worth, Cavanaugh said. Temperatures are forecast to reach a high of 35 degrees (2 Celsius) later today. Readings in the cities had gone from a high of 81 on March 1 to 22 last night, according to the weather service.
The worst of the snow in Washington and Baltimore should be over by later today, said Amy Bettwy, a weather service meteorologist in Sterling, Virginia. After the storm passes, temperatures are expected to fall close to 10 degrees.
Readings will “stay below freezing through midweek,” Bettwy said. “It is going to kind of prolong the cleanup efforts on the roads.”
Philadelphia and southern New Jersey may get from 4 to 8 inches, while Richmond, Virginia could receive as much as 7, the weather service said.
Parts of New Jersey near New York may get 2 to 3 inches, said Joey Picca, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York. Manhattan, which was forecast to get as much as 6 inches yesterday, will probably get only about an inch.
“The polar jet stream is really pushing down hard on the area so the storm system can’t push itself far north,” Picca said. “It is really being shunted to the south and we are just going to get clipped.”
Commuters traveling to New York from New Jersey may have to contend with snow and ice. Those coming in from the north and Connecticut may have less of a disruption, said Erickson. No snow is forecast for Boston, according to the weather service.
As the storm moved east, it was forecast to leave a swath of snow from Kansas to the Atlantic. Winter storm warnings and advisories stretched from Kansas to southern New Jersey. Schools in Kansas City, Missouri, were closed.
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