(Updates with government offices, schools, closed in
By Victoria Cavaliere
NEW YORK, March 2 A massive winter storm system
packing cold air, snow and freezing rain was bearing down on the
U.S. East Coast, causing federal and local offices in Washington
to close on Monday after it pummeled the central United States
over the weekend.
The National Weather Service predicted the storm will bring
up to 9 inches (23 cm) of snow to the Washington area. Votes
scheduled for Monday in the U.S. House of Representatives and
Senate were postponed, and District of Columbia Public Schools
have canceled classes.
The storm "is going to be a real mess," said Bruce Sullivan,
a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in
Silver Spring, Maryland.
"The main system is injecting a lot of moisture and cold air
out over the Southern Plains," he said. "It's going to bring
quite a bit of precipitation."
Rainfall and snow associated with the system stretched over
1,500 miles (2,400 km), from southeastern Colorado to southern
Massachusetts, meteorologists said.
About 2,000 flights were canceled and 5,600 were delayed as
of early evening on Sunday due to the storm, according to the
airline tracking site FlightAware.com.
"Ripple-effect flight delays and cancellations are likely to
reach nationwide," said AccuWeather meteorologist Alex
Boston and New York City should see only light snowfall, but
lingering freezing rain could complicate Monday morning's rush
hour for commuters.
By Sunday afternoon, up to nine inches of snow had already
fallen on parts of Indiana.
More than 40,000 homes in northeast Ohio were without power
due to downed transmission lines, according to Chad Self, a
spokesman for utility provider First Energy. Most customers
should have power restored by late Monday, the utility said.
Margie Gibson, 60, of Perry, 40 miles (65 km) northeast of
Cleveland, said the storm disrupted power at her home.
"The power keeps popping on and off every half-hour. It goes
off and comes right back on," she said.
Central Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky were also at risk
for heavy ice conditions and power outages, according to
Though temperatures will not be as frigid as during some
other storm systems this winter, when the so-called polar vortex
pushed Arctic air across large swaths of the county, the cold
air will blanket areas as far south as Texas and North Carolina.
Temperatures in Lubbock, Texas, in the northwestern part of
the state, were around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius) on
Saturday but by Sunday morning were a bone-chilling 18 degrees
(minus 8 degrees Celsius), Sullivan of the National Weather
Amanda Dyer watched a vehicle slide off the road as she
dropped her husband off at the Dallas/Fort Worth International
Airport on Sunday.
"There was slush kicking up from the cars and the road," she
said. "When we got home our car doors were frozen shut."
Forecasters urged motorists to use caution because slick
roads and fast-moving bands of snow could cause traffic
In southwest Missouri, slick conditions were blamed in the
death early Sunday of a 13-year-old girl when the driver of the
Ford Explorer she was riding in went off the highway and
The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported two adults and
another child in the vehicle suffered serious injuries, and
nobody in the car was wearing a seatbelt.
On Saturday in Colorado, a heavy midday dump of snow led to
a 104-vehicle pileup in Denver. One woman was killed and 30
people were hospitalized, police and local media said.
(Additional reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland, Brendan
O'Brien in Milwaukee and Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by
Ellen Wulfhorst, Sophie Hares, Chris Reese and Mohammad Zargham)