Bill Ford gets help shoveling the sidewalk by his 3-year-old son, Bray, during a winter storm that came through the area in Monona, Wis., on Tuesday. (Amber Arnold, AP)
An unyielding winter storm that ripped its way through the Midwest earlier in the week blasted east Wednesday, snarling traffic, closing schools and straining air travel for a third straight day.
The Washington D.C. region was the latest target, with the city and suburbs bracing for 5 to 10 inches of snow and ice by Wednesday night, the National Weather Service said. More than a foot could fall in some higher elevations west of the city.
Weather service spokesman Chris Vaccaro said the initial storm hit 16 states and now is joining up with a new weather system that formed off the Virginia coast.
"One storm is passing the baton to another storm, and it all adds up to the biggest storm in more than two years for the Washington area," Vaccaro said.
High winds were adding to the havoc -- and to the threat of power outages. More than 90,000 customers already were without power in parts of Virginia. The snow could lead to more outages in portions of North Carolina, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
Federal offices and all area schools closed for the day. More than 1,300 flights were canceled early Wednesday, raising to almost 3,600 the number of flights that have been canceled across much of the nation since the storm began its eastern march, the tracker FlightStats reported.
The storm dropped up to 10 inches on the Chicago area Tuesday. The Cincinnati area, relatively spared, was digging out after anywhere from 3 to 7 inches. The storm will sweep north into New Jersey and New York by Thursday. but shouldn't drop too much snow as it moves through the region, forecasters said. However, current weather models have it stalling when it reaches the Atlantic, which could mean longer snowfall in New England.
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SOURCE: USA Today