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Live updates: Monster winter storm snarls travel, cancels school across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
February 20, 2019, 11:59:15 AM EST


As of 12 p.m. EST, this story is no longer being updated. Click here for the latest updates on the winter storm.

More than 200 million Americans, roughly 60 percent of the population of the United States, will be impacted by a major storm that is set to bring snow, rain, ice or a wintry mix to every state east of the Mississippi River.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that a swath of heavy snow is expected from Oklahoma into the Midwest, Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic and the Northeast through Wednesday.

(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.

The large storm will pass the Tennessee and Ohio valleys midweek, bringing snow, ice and difficult travel to the Midwest and Northeast. Then, the storm will reorganize along the mid-Atlantic coast before heading toward the Maritime provinces of Canada.

Several inches of snow is likely before changing to sleet and freezing rain.

Roughly 3-6 inches of snow can fall in the Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia metro areas through Wednesday morning before precipitation transitions to an icy mix and eventually plain rain.

RELATED:
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Back-to-back storms to blast Plains to Upper Midwest with heavy snow through Sunday


10 a.m. EST Wednesday:

The Virginia State Police have responded to nearly 400 vehicle accidents since midnight Wednesday. Road conditions range from minor (light blue) to moderate (dark blue) at this time, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

road map va

(Image/Virginia Department of Transportation)


9 a.m. EST Wednesday:

Thundersnow was reported earlier this morning in Piqua, Ohio. Over 1,200 crews are out statewide working to clear roads, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.


8:30 a.m. EST Wednesday:

Snowy and icy conditions are impacting air travel in the form of delays or cancellations for some airlines. Chicago O’Hare International Airport has reported delays of more than 2 hours for some arriving flights.

Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport is currently experiencing delays of about an hour for departing traffic.


According to FlightAware, more than 300 flights have been canceled into and out of Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. Another 200 have been canceled in Chicago.


8:14 a.m. EST Wednesday:

Roads in parts of western Pennsylvania are covered in snow and slush, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

penndot roads 22019

(Image/Pennsylvania Department of Transportation)


7:05 a.m. EST Wednesday:

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has declared a state of emergency as of 5 a.m. EST. Drivers have been urged to take caution on roadways or to avoid traveling due to expected deteriorating conditions.

Gov. Murphy stated on Twitter that the New Jersey State Police have activated the State Emergency Operations Center, while the New Jersey Department of Transportation will be deploying more than 2,500 plows and salt spreaders on the roads.



4:55 a.m. EST Wednesday:

Difficult driving conditions are being reported in West Virginia as snowy weather has started to reach the eastern portion of the state as well as central Virginia. Motorists should be cautious of ice, snow on the roadways and sleet, according to West Virginia 511.

Radar 2/20



3:45 a.m. EST Wednesday:

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

twitter TOP 2/19 11pm

Snow-covered roads made for slick travel in Topeka, Kansas on Tuesday night, Feb. 19, 2019. Photo via Twitter user Joshua M. Simms/@Simsx28


Heavy snowfall rates are occurring across Virginia and West Virginia. Blacksburg, Virginia, has already received about 3 inches of snow while Merrimac has reportedly picked up over 4.

Meanwhile, freezing rain has started coating surfaces across south-central Ohio and parts of West Virginia.


2:20 a.m. EST Wednesday:

Heavy snow is currently battering northeastern Nebraska and Iowa, where roads have quickly become snow-packed. Combined with wind gusts as high as 35 mph, blowing and drifting snow are contributing to hazardous travel conditions.


Farther east, a mess of icy precipitation and rain is moving into the Ohio Valley. Snow, sleet and freezing rain have all been reported in Cincinnati in the past two hours alone.

The Ohio Department of Transportation warns that icy conditions are occurring in Cincinnati, Dayton and Fayette counties, where hundreds of crews are working to plow and salt the roadways.


12:05 a.m. EST Wednesday:

Roads are slick and snow-covered across Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, leading to widespread reports of car accidents and and road closures.

Authorities are warning residents to stay off the roads as much as possible until road crews are able to clear the snow and ice.


In Boone County, Arkansas, 0.25 inches of ice have accrued on raised surfaces, weighing down branches and power lines. Nearly 2,000 customers are without power as a result.


9 p.m. EST Tuesday:

According to the Department of Transportation in Kansas City, all roads are snow covered in the greater Kansas City area.

Officials are asking people to avoid driving and stay off of the roads. As temperatures drop this evening roads will become even more dangerous and slick.



6:30 p.m. EST Tuesday:

Snowfall reports are already climbing past 7 inches in some locations across the central U.S.

The main precipitation event will be winding down across most of eastern Oklahoma early this evening. Drizzle or freezing drizzle and fog will persist for several more hours in its wake.



5:15 p.m. EST Tuesday:

Vehicle restrictions will begin on Wednesday morning on many Pennsylvania highways as snow, sleet and freezing rain spread across the Commonwealth.


4:45 p.m. EST Tuesday:

School closures for Wednesday are already starting to be issued, including all of Philadelphia. Text "ReadyPhila" — one word, no space — to 888-777 to receive free text updates about snow events in Philadelphia.

Additional school closures are likely to be announced across the region through Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning as the storm approaches.


Currently, 43 states have some sort of winter weather advisory, winter storm watch or winter storm warning in effect, including Alaska and Hawaii. This includes all of Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Connecticut.

One of the main roads that traverses Great Smoky Mountain National Park is closed due to snow, ice and wind.



2:30 p.m. EST Tuesday:

Travel wavers are being issued by airlines due to the storm, including Delta and United. Travelers are encouraged to check with their airlines before heading to the airport.

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