LIVE: Accidents unfold amid robust snow, ice storm; Over 2,000 flight cancellations in Midwest and Northeast

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
February 21, 2019, 5:29:21 AM EST


This story is no longer being updated as of 12:15 a.m. EST Thursday. Click here for a storm recap.

Millions are facing disruptive snow and ice from Philadelphia through Chicago and Minneapolis as a far-reaching winter storm pounds the northeastern and midwestern United States.

School closures and travel delays were widespread on Wednesday morning as snow ramped up across the regions. Snowfall rates of 2-3 inches per hour were observed from south-central Pennsylvania into northwestern Virginia with occasional thundersnow.

(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Snow falls on the White House during a winter storm, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in Washington.

(AP Photo/Jessica Gresko)

Crews remove early morning snow during a winter storm at the Supreme Court, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 in Washington.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Visitors wait to enter the Supreme Court as a winter snow storm hits the nation's capital on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Visitors enter the Supreme Court as a winter snow storm hits the nation's capital on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A man crosses Constitution Avenue near the National Archives as a winter snow storm hits the nation's capital on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Police attend to a multiple vehicle accident on Independence Avenue in Washington as a winter snow storm hits the nation's capital on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Capitol is seen as a winter snow storm hits the nation's capital making roads perilous and closing all major public school districts, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

An upside-down pair of pants is seen atop a mound of snow, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, the result of yet another snow storm to hit Omaha, Neb.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Residents and snow plows clear snow off roads and sidewalks in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, after an overnight winter storm.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A morning rush-hour snow falls on a statue of Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame Willie Stargell outside the left field gate of PNC Park on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A morning rush-hour snow falls on a statue of Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame Willie Stargell outside the left field gate of PNC Park on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A morning rush-hour snow falls on a sign outside a Pittsburgh McDonald's restaurant on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A morning rush-hour snow falls on pedestrians as they cross the Andy Warhol Bridge on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A morning rush-hour snow falls on a statue of Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame Willie Stargell outside the left field gate of PNC Park on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Pedestrians hold umbrellas while walking under light snow near the Oculus in lower Manhattan, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, near The Oculus transportation hub in New York.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Pedestrians walk in midtown Manhattan at Pershing Square as snow falls, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in New York.

(Twitter/NYCMayorsOffice)

A travel advisory is in effect for New York City Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning as snow, sleet, and freezing rain cause travel difficulties.

(Twitter/NYCMayorsOffice)

A travel advisory is in effect for New York City Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning as snow, sleet, and freezing rain cause travel difficulties.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

A woman is followed by a snow brush machine while walking near the World Trade Center as snow falls, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in New York.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Pedestrians walk along 42nd street a snow falls, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in New York.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Pedestrians walk 42nd street as snow falls, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in New York.

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

A worker pushes a hand truck as snow falls, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in New York.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A worker at City Hall shovels snow during a winter storm in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(Twitter/VDOT Northern Virginia)

"Heading EB on Route 50 in Chantilly. Slushy conditions with snow still coming down. Visibility isn’t that great either. Stay off the roads please!" VDOT Northern Virginia tweets.

(Twitter/Renee Duff)

A pup enjoys the snow in Hampstead, Maryland, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(Twitter/Renee Duff)

Around 3 inches so far in Hampstead, Maryland, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(Twitter/Renee Duff)

Dogs enjoy the snow in Hampstead, Maryland, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(Twitter/NSP_TroopC)

Nebraska State Patrol troopers are responding to slide-offs in the Troop C area on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(Twitter/NSP_TroopC)

Nebraska State Patrol troopers are responding to slide-offs and accidents in the Troop C area on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(Twitter/NSP_TroopC)

This empty semi with a tire problem was assisted at the Alda Interchange, the Nebraska State Patrol tweeted on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

(Twitter/Virginia State Police)

"VSP has 380 reasons to delay travel today in Virginia- that's how many crashes & stuck vehicles our troopers have responded & are still helping since midnight," Virginia State Police tweets Wednesday, Feb. 20.

(Twitter/Virginia State Police)

"VSP has 380 reasons to delay travel today in Virginia- that's how many crashes & stuck vehicles our troopers have responded & are still helping since midnight," Virginia State Police tweets Wednesday, Feb. 20.


Snow will eventually transition to sleet and freezing rain, with the potential for an ice storm across the interior Northeast.

Download the free AccuWeather app to know exactly how much snow, ice and rain will fall in your neighborhood.

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10:40 p.m. EST Wednesday:

The West Virginia Department of Highways reports that a rockslide has covered a road in Summers County, where today's rainfall pushed the monthly rainfall total to over 200 percent.

Freezing rain and sleet continue to fall over much of New York and eastern Pennsylvania while heavy snow in southern New England contributes to near white-out conditions.

York PA road cam 2/20 10pm

A PennDot traffic camera shows icicles forming in York, Pennsylvania on Feb. 20, 2019.



9:00 p.m. EST Wednesday:

The two areas of low pressure responsible for this winter storm will continue moving east Wednesday night into Thursday morning. One will move from Wisconsin into Quebec, the other from the eastern Ohio Valley to the southern New England Coast.

As the storm continues to encounter cold air stationed across the Northeast, snow and ice will remain a concern in much of the Northeast through Wednesday night and through Thursday morning for Northern New England.



7:45 p.m. EST Wednesday:

According to the NWS, areas of freezing rain are expected to continue across northern Virginia and north-central Maryland, especially in Frederick County, Maryland through 1:00 a.m. EST.

Officials warn to watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways because they could be slippery.



6:45 p.m. EST Wednesday:

Snow will continue into this evening across Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern Michigan, generally bringing an additional 1 to 3 inches.

According to AccuWeather meteorologists, an icy mix of sleet and freezing rain continues to extend from the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia northward through western Maryland and much of central and eastern Pennsylvania. This region will gradually change to plain rain from southwest to northeast through the night Wednesday night.

Farther northeast, light snow extends from much of New York through New England. This snow will continue to move northeast, changing to an icy mix of sleet and freezing rain by late Wednesday night.

Areas in western New York and southern New England, near the Atlantic Coast, will change to plain rain late tonight. Interior portions of central and eastern New York and southern New England will remain an icy mix of sleet and freezing rain before coming to an end Thursday morning. Northern New England will remain all snow through the duration of tonight and Thursday morning before snow comes to an end.


6:00 p.m. EST Wednesday:

Traffic is heavy in New York this evening as commuters drive home on slick roads. Visibility is an issue along with slippery road conditions in most areas across the northeast.

Snow is expected to continue for a few hours before transitioning to sleet and freezing rain.

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(Image via Google Maps)

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4:30 p.m. EST Wednesday:

As the evening commute starts, motorists should be extra cautious since road conditions across the northeast are not ideal. Since roads are slick, snowy and icy, officials are urging motorists to drive extremely slow and under the speed limit.

Officials are also asking motorists to stay at least 10 car lengths back from snowplows. The plow creates "snow clouds" which can cause whiteout conditions for vehicles following too closely.



3:30 p.m. EST Wednesday:

Eastbound on I-94 at Highway 4 near Melrose, Minnesota is closed due to an accident with a snow plow.

If you encounter snow plows on the road, please give them space to work and yield to the snow cloud they create.


Some Montgomery, Pennsylvania municipalities have declared a snow emergency due to the winter storm.



2:10 p.m. EST Wednesday:

The heaviest snow in the mid-Atlantic has fallen in south-central Pennsylvania and into the mountains of Maryland and West Virginia. Accumulations in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, are just shy of a foot with snow, sleet and freezing rain falling across the area.

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Meanwhile, the heaviest snow in the midwestern US has fallen between Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Minneapolis. Snow could top one foot in some spots as snow continues over the region.

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1:09 p.m. EST Wednesday:

Heavy snow is still falling in the mid-Atlantic, including in the nation's capital. However, a changeover to a wintry mix will be happening soon the Washington, D.C. area.

Freezing rain is expected over a large area from the mountains of western North Carolina through the Virginias and Pennsylvania and into southern New England as well as through the northern Ohio Valley and southern Great Lakes, according to AccuWeather meteorologists.

Farther north, a travel advisory is in effect around New York City through Thursday morning.


12:17 p.m. EST Wednesday:

From 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., the Maryland State Police have responded to nearly 100 vehicle crashes and nearly 70 disabled or unattended vehicles. In Virginia, nearly 400 crashes have been reported.


In the Midwest, traffic accidents also continue, particularly in Minnesota. Motorists are being reminded to slow down.


10:50 a.m. EST Wednesday:

Over 1,500 flights have been canceled at airports across the northeastern and midwestern United States with hundreds of more delays, according to FlightStats. This could lead to ripple effect delays and cancellations at airports elsewhere in the country, even where the weather is clear.


Some of the heaviest snow is currently falling across central Pennsylvania, making travel extremely difficult as plow trucks are not able to keep up with the quick accumulation.


People that must drive should allow for extra time to reach their destinations, especially if roads are snowy and untreated.

For past storm reports, click here.

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