Snowstorm marches towards Washington, after pummeling U.S. Midwest

Environment

(Reuters) – A winter storm that dumped heavy snow on the U.S. Midwest, causing several roadway deaths, stranding some motorists in Missouri and cancelling dozens of flights, marched east toward Washington on Saturday.

Horses stand over a major winter storm which dropped around 8 inches of snow in Taos, New Mexico, U.S., January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Hay

The weather system, which started as rain from Mexico but has since turned into snow, is forecast to affect an 1,800-mile (2,900 km) corridor of the United States from Colorado to the Mid-Atlantic.

The storm hit Kansas and Missouri on Friday and pummeled those states again on Saturday as it extended into parts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, said U.S. Weather Prediction Center meteorologist Andrew Orrison.

In Kansas City, seats at Arrowhead Stadium were dusted with snow ahead of Saturday’s National Football League playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts.

“There’s snow time like Showtime,” the Chiefs said on Twitter, sharing video of the team’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes arriving at the stadium in the snow.

The storm is leaving its heaviest snowfall on areas west of St. Louis, where about a foot and a half of snow was recorded, with more still falling on Saturday, Orrison said.

At least three people died in weather-related crashes on roads in Missouri on Friday, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“This is a wet, heavy snow and it’s been very, very slick,” Scott White, a Highway Patrol spokesman, said by phone.

More than 1,200 motorists in Missouri were stranded at some point, but the havoc on the highways began to ease on Saturday as many people stayed home for the weekend, White said.

Dozens of flights were canceled at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, which described the onslaught of snow on Twitter as one of its biggest single-day winter storms in years.

Snow is forecast for the Appalachian Mountains and the Mid-Atlantic on Saturday evening and Sunday.

“Given how cold it is across the Midwest and even in the mid-Atlantic region, certainly people who are going to be out are going to want to dress in layered clothing,” Orrison said.

Washington, where many federal government offices are closed due to the U.S. government shutdown, is expected to receive 6 to 8 inches (15 cm to 20 cm) of snow from this storm, according to the National Weather Service.

Central and northern Virginia will receive even more, with up to 10 inches of snow possible in some places. Baltimore and parts of Maryland are also bracing for a similar amount.

Philadelphia is expected to receive a few inches of snow, but areas north of there are expected to be spared, Orrison added.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and G Crosse

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