Huge winter storm moves east: Snow, sleet, heavy rain target 39 states


A winter storm expected to batter every state east of the Mississippi River pushed east Wednesday, bringing snow, ice, school closures and vehicle restrictions to a wide swath of the nation.

While the Central Plains saw the bulk of its snow in the overnight hours, cities including Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Washington were getting the worst of the storm on Wednesday, AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Edwards said.

Airline traffic was under siege, with almost 700 flights canceled into and out of metro Washington’s three airports alone. More than 200 were canceled for Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports, Philadelphia International had more than 100 flights canceled.

The storm is expected to end Thursday, but not before affecting more than 200 million people.

“Significant ice threat is also expected across the spine of the Appalachian Mountains all the way from far southwestern North Carolina up and through Pennsylvania and into parts of far southern New York,” Edwards said.

He said ice “secretion”  of over a half-inch were expected in parts of West Virginia and Virginia. The likely outcome: Downed power lines and tree branches in addition to treacherous road conditions.

School closing in major cities and their environs stretched from Minneapolis to Philadelphia. Officials scheduled vehicle restrictions on Pennsylvania highways early Wednesday, urging people to monitor snow and ice.

Daily snowfall records were set on Tuesday in North Little Rock, Arkansas; and Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; all of which received several inches of snow, AccuWeather reported.