Massive Snowstorm Barrels into Paralysed Washington

Washington, Feb 10 (IANS) : The capital of the world's most powerful nation lay paralysed for the fourth day as another massive snowstorm barrelled into the mid-Atlantic region even as residents were still recovering from the weekend's historic blizzard. 

Federal workers and schoolchildren in Washington were told to stay home for a third consecutive day with fresh snowfall that began Tuesday afternoon expected to dump another 10 to 20 inches of snow over Washington, northern Virginia and eastern Maryland through Wednesday.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled, and airlines were waiting to see whether they would have to cancel more. No flights were expected to be operating Wednesday at Reagan National Airport or at Washington Dulles International, the Washington Airports Authority said. These airports handle more than 2,000 arrivals and departures a day for most major airlines.

In last weekend's blizzard, a record 32.4 inches of snow fell on Washington's Dulles International Airport over two days, breaking the Jan 7-8, 1996, record of 23.2 inches.
Unlike the weekend blizzard that walloped only Washington and surrounding areas, the new storm, the third major snowfall to hit the nation's capital and surrounding region in slightly more than seven weeks, threatens to leave heavy snows across several states.
Chicago, New York, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia will all see significant accumulations as will the Tennessee and Ohio valleys and southern New England, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's just what Mother Nature is doing this year," ABC cited Brian Korty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Camp Spring, Maryland as saying. "There is really no rhyme or reason to it."

Baltimore, Philadelphia and southern New Jersey are forecast to get the most from this storm, up to 18 inches in some places, he said. There's a wide path from Washington, through New York City, across Long Island and up through Connecticut and Rhode Island that will see the brunt of the storm.

Ohio could see 4 to 8 inches of snow, and the Tennessee valley could see up to 10 inches. Chicago will probably see "a few" inches, but nothing like the east coast.

For New York, which has had a pretty dry winter, Korty said this will be "one of the bigger storms of the year".

The main airline operating out of Newark, Continental, plans to stop operations Wednesday, cancelling 800 mainline flights and hundreds of others on regional carriers.
Airlines at O'Hare and Midway international airports in Chicago, Illinois, pre-emptively cancelled flights, CNN reported.

Amtrak, which had also just gotten rail operations back to normal, may have to reduce service on some lines.


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