Washington: Schools, colleges and many government offices in Washington metro area were closed as a massive snow storm nicknamed "snowquester" by punsters hit the American capital after setting snowfall records in Chicago.
Named "Saturn" by the weatherman, snowquester, a play on the $85 billion across-the-board spending cuts called sequester that kicked in Friday, left more than 93,000 power customers without power as wet, heavy snow downed trees and power lines.
Washington could see a crippling 10 inches of snow, CNN reported citing its meteorologist Dave Hennen. Snow totals could exceed a foot west of town, while some places in northern Virginia and West Virginia could see as much as 30 inches, Hennen said.
After a period of morning rain inside the Capital Beltway, a 64-mile interstate highway surrounding the capital and the city`s inner suburbs in adjacent Maryland and Virginia, heavy snow again began falling at 8.30 a.m., and temperatures in some areas inched below freezing.
The Washington Post`s weather forecasters said with the low-pressure system from North Carolina gathering strength and making its way to the Washington area, it may be by far the biggest snowstorm in the region in the last two years.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled in the Northeast, the White House put off a function, US Congress called off several hearings and more than 900,000 school students in Washington, Virginia, Maryland and Ohio got a day off, CNN reported.
In addition to snow in New York, Boston and elsewhere, the storm could bring 40 mph to 60 mph winds, hurricane-force gusts and the threat of flooding to coastal communities, the news channel said.
The National Weather Service issued coastal flood warnings for parts of New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
The storm earlier dumped about a foot of snow in parts of Illinois, Minnesota and North Dakota, and paved a white swath across the Upper Midwest.