Winter Storm Saturn Heads to Washington: Updates, Snowfall Totals, and Weather Predictions
Thought winter was over yet? Wrong.
After hitting the nation's midsection with some of the heaviest snowfall this year, Winter Storm Saturn is heading to Washington.
Federal offices in Washington, D.C., are shut down Wednesday, following the storm's 10 inches of snow in Chicago by Tuesday night and widespread school closures in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Three to seven inches of snow will be dumped on the capitol, and up to 16 inches in the western Maryland mountains by Wednesday night. Minor coastal flooding is a possibility along the Delaware coast along the western shore of Chesapeke Bay and the lower Potomac.
[For LIVE updates on the winter storm, see here]
New Jersey could be hit as well in areas still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Coastal areas will receive up to two inches of snow, as well as flooding in areas where sand dunes have already been washed away. Inland areas such as Monmouth could see as much as six inches.
"Whenever you're talking about that much heavy, wet snow and those winds of 20-30 mph with some higher gusts, there's a concern for numerous power outages," said National Weather Service meteorologist Jared Klein. Along the Virginia-West Virginia border, winds could hit a bone-chilling 35 mph in addition to heavy snow.
"We certainly anticipate some signal outages. We certainly anticipate some trees down, which can cause power outages," Maryland State Highway Administration spokesman David Buck said, warning workers that commuting delays were likely.
Maryland Transit Administration workers are monitoring power grids for snow and ice buildup, while D.C. Metro workers are clearing snow from infrastructure and parking lots.
Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, most at D.C.'s Dules and Reagan National airports. In Chicago, over 1,100 flights were canceled.
In Virginia, the storm is expected to drop as much as a foot of snow in the Blue Ridge Mountains and 21 inches in higher elevations.
"The snow is going to come down at a very fast rate," Virginia transportation spokesman Sandy Myers said. "We just need folks to stay off the roads so the plow drivers can hopefully keep up with the storm."
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which overseas leave policies for 300,000 federal workers, said that D.C. area federal workers will be given excused absences.