Winter Storm Pummels Midwest, Heads East

8:55 AM, Mar 5, 2013   |    comments
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A furious winter storm that dumped freezing rain and a foot of snow on parts of North and South Dakota was bearing down on Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota on Monday, promising what National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Seeley called "the biggest widespread storm of the winter."

The weather Service said Grand Forks already had 7 inches Monday, a record for the date. Minot not only got a foot of snow but also set a rainfall record for the date, as did with Williston. Williston also got half a foot of snow.

Cities from Minneapolis to Chicago braced for heavy snow on Tuesday, as a large, late-season winter storm marched across the Midwest toward the Mid-Atlantic.
Snowfall accumulations by Tuesday should be from 6-12 inches from Minneapolis through the southern suburbs of Chicago, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Edwards.

Winter storm warnings are in effect for parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia.

The Chicago area and other parts of northern Illinois were forecast to get 7 to 10 inches by Tuesday night.

The weather service warned that the greatest impact in the Chicago area would be felt during the Tuesday evening rush hour, and that travel through Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports was likely to be significantly affected Tuesday.

Already, airlines have preemptively canceled hundreds of flights at O'Hare for Tuesday. That number is sure to grow if the forecast holds.

North Dakota took the brunt of the storm early Monday. In the northeast part of the state, Devils Lake had 11 inches of snow by midmorning, and a foot of snow fell in Sarles about 60 miles to the north. In southeastern North Dakota and parts of eastern South Dakota, freezing rain that coated roads was more of a problem but there were no immediate reports of major accidents.

On Wednesday, the storm will head east. The area most likely to receive a foot or more of snow is across the higher elevations of eastern West Virginia into western parts of Virginia, says AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. The snow could lead to power outages in portions of North Carolina, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

The storm should bring significant snow to Washington D.C., and Baltimore metro areas, along with coastal flooding along the East Coast later Wednesday into Thursday.

It will likely be the heaviest snowfall for Washington, D.C., and Baltimore so far this winter season. Washington has seen only 1.5 inches of snow this winter, while Baltimore has picked up 4.8 inches.

The region's three big airports - Washington Dulles, Washington Reagan National and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) - are not especially delay-prone, but those conditions will likely create problems if the forecasts are correct.

The Weather Channel has named the storm Saturn, as part of its winter storm naming system. No other private weather services, or the federal government, are using this name. The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang has called the storm "Snowquester" in honor of the federal government's current sequester.

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