Major Snowstorm Heads to DC, Philly, Richmond

By , Senior Meteorologist
March 2, 2014; 2:41 PM ET
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A storm crossing the country will continue to create travel nightmares for millions from the Plains to the mid-Atlantic through Monday.

Snow will continue to expand from the vicinity of Kansas and Oklahoma to the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic through Monday.

Along this journey, there will be localized snow totals in excess of 6 inches across the Ohio Valley through Monday morning. This heavier band of snow may develop across Springfield, Mo., Evansville, Ind., Louisville and Lexington, Ky., and Huntington and Charleston, W. Va.

More widespread snow amounts of 6 inches or more are expected across the mid-Atlantic from the West Virginia mountains to Philadelphia to Atlantic City, N.J., to Richmond, Va., Sunday night through Monday.

Washington, D.C., also lies within this zone and could experience one of its snowiest March days on record.

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People traveling by road or airways should expect major long-lasting delays as this area of snow expands to the south and east.

Snowfall rates at the height of the storm may reach 2 inches per hour, causing the snow to quickly clog major interstates.

Major airport hubs from Kansas City, Mo., Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City may all be directly affected by the storm with the potential for thousands of delays and/or cancellations. Ripple-effect flight delays and cancellations are likely to reach nationwide.

The storm is likely to impact not only travel, but also school and business activities. The storm may completely tap remaining ice-melting supplies in some communities.

"In a narrow swath, all or part of the storm will deliver snow that may be difficult to shovel and plow, due to its accumulation and weight," Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams said.

South of I-70, travel hazards will start even before the first flake of snow falls due to sleet and/or freezing rain preceding the snow. In some cases, this icy mix will come after a period of rain.

On Monday, that icy mix will occur as far south as Charlotte, N.C., and Florence, S.C. As temperatures plummet Monday afternoon, roads can quickly turn icy.

Soaking rain would wash away any lingering salt or would prevent crews from treating roads prior to the ice or snow begins.

"Because of the great amount of moisture available to this storm, a narrow zone of heavy ice can occur with downed trees and power outages," Abrams said.

The area at greatest risk for the heavy ice and power outages lies from central Arkansas to southern West Virginia. This includes Little Rock, Ark., Lexington, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn.

A shift in storm track by as little as a few dozen miles and more of a press of cold air could make the difference between heavy snow, light snow, ice and rain. meteorologists continue to closely monitor this evolving winter storm and will rapidly update forecasts as needed to prepare the public for any impending adverse weather.

In the warm air on the southern flank of the storm, drenching rain and thunderstorms will occur.

Long-duration rainfall will occur south/ahead of the snow and ice, while the potential for strong to locally severe thunderstorms still exists across parts of Texas and Louisiana.

A frigid dome of high pressure will replace this far-reaching winter storm. Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski contributed to the content of this story.


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