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Storm Brings Season’s Heaviest Snowfall To Midwest, Mid-Atlantic

Pedestrian on the street in Chicago on Tuesday

Winter storm Saturn, which has dumped several inches of snow from the Dakotas to Maryland, is expected to linger over the mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, bringing another five to nine inches to many areas in the east.

Federal government offices in the nation's capital were closed on Wednesday in anticipation of the snow and many schools were closed in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Hundreds of flights were cancelled at Dulles and Reagan National airports.

The system has already left up to 10 inches of snow in the Chicago and is expected to bring between 3 and 7 inches to the D.C. area and up to 16 inches in western Maryland. A foot of snow was expected in parts of Virginia, with up to 21 inches forecast for higher elevations.

The Associated Press reports that Dominion Virginia Power has alerted out-of-state utilities it might require assistance.

Delaware and the Jersey shore were both bracing for possible flooding.

According to the AP:

By early Wednesday, wet snow was falling in the Washington area. It was accumulating on the grass in some areas, but not on the streets as temperatures hovered above freezing. The worst of the storm was expected to arrive by midday.

Schools were closed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, and more than 1,100 flights were cancelled at Chicago's two major airports, prompting delays and closures at others.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

"As of midnight, 9.2 inches of snow was measured at O'Hare International Airport, bringing the Chicago area to a total of 29.5 inches for the season, a bit less than the average snowfall season-to-date total of 30.5 inches. National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Allsopp said Tuesday's storm through midnight would bring the area close to season averages after a relatively snowless start to winter."

The Chicago area has seen more than 10 inches of snow in a single day just 21 times since 1886.

"This is certainly the heaviest snow we've had this year," weather service meteorologist Andrew Krein said. "It's a fairly uncommon event to get more than 6 inches of snow in the Chicago area."

The AP reports no initial reports of major accidents in the Chicago area but that a semi-trailer slid off a snow-covered interstate in western Wisconsin, killing one person.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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