* High winds, 3-foot drifts, low visibility in northwest
* Parts of Minnesota bracing for up to a foot of snow
* Storm expected to span Chicago morning, evening rush hours
* Washington could get its biggest snowfall of the year
By David Bailey
MINNEAPOLIS, March 4 A blizzard roared into
North Dakota on Monday and was expected to dump up to a foot of
snow in neighboring Minnesota before moving east over the
mid-Atlantic states, where it could bury the Washington area
with its biggest snowfall of the winter, the National Weather
Blowing snow and drifts up to 3 feet (0.9 meters) left parts
of northeast Montana and the northwest North Dakota oil region
with visibility at a quarter of mile under blizzard conditions
that were expected to last into Monday afternoon, the weather
Grand Forks, on the eastern border with Minnesota, reported
6 inches (15.24 cm) of snow on Monday morning and was expecting
about 10 inches (25.4 cm) overall.
The North Dakota transportation department is recommending
"no travel" on numerous roads across the northwestern part of
the state where there is a blizzard, and a stretch of Interstate
94 from west of Fargo to east of Bismarck.
The state, known for winter blizzards, took the latest storm
"It's a normal late winter storm for us," said Adam Jones, a
meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck,
The Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area expected a
couple of inches of snow Monday from a separate storm system and
up to 10 inches of snow from the main winter storm, mostly
overnight into Tuesday morning, the weather service said.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport had 98 flight
cancellations on Monday morning and O'Hare International Airport
38, FlightAware.com reported.
Overall, the winter storm is expected to stretch across
North Dakota, much of Minnesota, northern Iowa, western
Wisconsin and then into northern Illinois later on Monday.
Northeastern Illinois, including Chicago, was forecast to
receive 6 to 9 inches of snow overall, starting from Monday
night and becoming more intense Tuesday, spanning the morning
and evening rush hours, the weather service said.
The storm was forecast to move east, reaching the Ohio
Valley, the mid-Atlantic states and the Washington area on
Tuesday and Wednesday.
"This will be certainly the biggest snowstorm for the winter
in this area," said National Weather Service forecaster Bruce
Sullivan, who is in Maryland.
Forecasting models varied, but the system could dump
anywhere from 12 to 20 inches (30 to 51 cm) of snow over
northern Virginia and parts of Maryland, Sullivan said.
It will bring a cold, dry snow over the mountains of
Virginia and a heavy, wet snow east of Washington, he said.
One of the more challenging aspects is predicting how much
snow would fall on or east of heavily traveled Interstate 95 in
Virginia and Maryland, forecasters said.
"We are into March now. It may start out as a little bit of
rain and just how quickly it changes into snow will impact how
much we get," Sullivan said.