Blizzard Pounds East Coast With Record Snowfalls

Snow boots, shovels and sleds appeared across the Midwest and East Coast as a massive storm dumped up to two feet of snow in some areas, causing travel delays, school closures and -- for some lucky folks -- a chance to frolic in the fresh powder.

Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York City were hardest hit, with those cities and their suburbs expected to get 12 to 18 inches of snow. High winds and poor visibility are going to make travel extremely dangerous throughout the night.

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The blizzard could bring winds in excess of 40 mph to some parts of the East Coast, according to Tom Kines, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.

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In anticipation of the storm, airlines virtually ceased operations up and down the coast, with about 5,600 flights canceled Tuesday and today.

Chicago set a record for the biggest daily snowfall in February. The 13 inches of snow there topped the 11.5 that fell Feb. 18, 1908.

Blizzard Pounds the East Coast

For Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, the storm came as the cities were still digging out from a powerful weekend storm that left nearly two feet of snow across the capital.

"The amount of snow is unusual, plus back-to-back storms like this is highly unusual," Kines said. "January was pretty easy. It was an uneventful month and now we're making up for it."

Many buildings and power lines there were already weighed down by the weekend's heavy snows. This storm only added to the woes.

A Maryland warehouse used by the Smithsonian museum to store artifacts suffered a roof collapse late this morning. It was unclear what damage, if any, had been sustained to the artwork and collectibles inside.

Philadelphia Electric and Gas Company, with a total of 1.6 million customers, says conditions are rapidly worsening and expects that number to increase into the night and overnight due to a combination of snow accumulation and expected high winds. Those affected are mostly in suburbs as trees down power lines.

School Closings

New York City took the rare step of canceling schools and closing the courts. It was only the third time in eight years that the city's 1 million school children had a snow day. Even the United Nations closed shop.

In Ohio, Columbus and Cleveland both got about 5 inches of snow while Cincinnati saw 7 inches. There was also heavy snowfall throughout parts of Tennessee, up through Detroit.

In Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, the storm threw some freezing rain into the mix. Maybe it was just Mother Nature taunting those who left their homes and tried to get somewhere.

The snow is expected to end by nightfall but high winds throughout the evening are going to mean snow drifts and blinding conditions, Kines said.

"It means no work, no school and lots of shoveling," he added. "Records for seasonal snowfall are being set with these storms in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C."

Baltimore has now beaten its all-time record of 54.4 inches of snow in one season. The is at 72 inches and counting. Philadelphia is re-writing history too and Washington D.C. late Wednesday, beat its all-time record, set in 1898.

For anybody trying to travel today, well, good luck.

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