January 26, 2011 / 2:38 PM / 7 years ago

Wet snow blankets Northeast as storm gains momentum

<p>People walk through Times Square as snow falls in New York, January 26, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wet snow, sleet and rain fell across the Northeast on Wednesday in a storm that was expected to intensify through the day, forecasters said.

Winter storm warnings were declared in regions surrounding Washington, D.C.; Wilmington, Delaware; Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, Providence and Boston, the National Weather Service said.

The storm, which stretched from northern Alabama and Tennessee northeast to Massachusetts, was bringing sleet and rain to start and changing to heavy snow, the Weather Service said.

“A winter storm warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet and ice are expected or occurring,” the Weather Service said, adding that strong winds were also possible.

“This will make travel very hazardous or impossible.”

One to three inches of snow was expected in Nashville, the Weather Service said, noting this was the fifth winter storm to hit middle Tennessee this season.

In the Washington area, the storm would bring a “mix of rain sleet and snow to start, becoming all snow during the mid to late afternoon,” the Weather Service said.

<p>Fairfax County, Virginia, police officer directs traffic while a tow-truck operator works on recovering a vehicle that went off the road after overnight snow and rain in Great Falls, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, January 26, 2011. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang</p>

“The heaviest snowfall is expected between 4 p.m. and midnight, impacting the afternoon rush hour.”

The snowfall would be heavy, as much as one to two inches an hour, the Weather Service said.

Heavy snow and sleet were predicted for northern New Jersey and New York City as well.

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“A wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain will spread along the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to New York City before changing to all snow by the evening as colder air arrives,” wrote meteorologist Meghan Evans on the AccuWeather.com web site.

“Roads will be extremely slippery and dangerous at times,” she said.

Flights were delayed at Philadelphia International Airport and at LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Philadelphia was expected to get four to 8 inches of snow, while six to nine inches was expected in New York City. Boston and Hartford were expected to get six to 12 inches.

The Midwest should brace for more sub-zero temperatures this weekend and next week, as should the Northeast, forecasters said.

Editing by Jerry Norton

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