Feb. 9, 2010— -- Just as Washington, D.C., and other cities in the mid-Atlantic region dig out from a nasty storm over the weekend, Mother Nature returns with a fury, threatening to dump another foot of snow on some parts of the country.
Unlike the weekend storm which just hit a small pocket of the country -- although it hit it hard -- this storm 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.
The Federal government was shut down Monday and Tuesday, and New York City public schools have already canceled Wednesday classes.
"It's just what Mother Nature is doing this year," said Brian Korty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Camp Spring, Md. "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, according to Korty. 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.
"You're talking 10 to 18 inches of snow along that corridor," Korty said.
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."
No blizzard warnings have yet been issued, but Korty said this storm will really intensify with time and that visibility will probably be cut to below a quarter mile, the definition of a blizzard. He expects more wind with this storm that the past one.
"There is the potential," he said, "for blizzard-like conditions."
For travelers, this storm threatens to bring plenty of headaches with roads blanketed in snow and airlines preemptively canceling hundreds of flights.
"It's going to be a freaking nightmare," Korty said of travel in the mid-Atlantic states. "I live in the Washington area and I can tell you right now that a lot of the local roads haven't been touched yet. And the ones that have been are still snow covered, and I'm not talking like an inch of snow, I'm talking about 5 to 6 inches of snow in spots. This is just going to add to the misery."
Operations at Washington's three airports had just started to return to normal after the weekend's storm. Dulles International Airport didn't open up a third runway until 4 p.m. on Monday. Crews there are now dumping all the excess snow at different parts of the airfield and melting it. But the equipment and crews have been working non-stop since the weekend and need a break.