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WASHINGTON: The US capital shut down yesterday ahead of a fierce snowstorm that had blanketed the Midwest, cut power to about 50,000 homes and businesses and forced hundreds of flights to be canceled.
The Washington area could get slammed by its biggest snowfall in about two years, with 6 to 12 inches expected, the National Weather Service said. The government ordered 375,000 federal workers in the Washington area to stay home. Many businesses and institutions also closed, including the International Monetary Fund. Major school districts in the region shut down ahead of the storm, which is packing winds of up to 56km per hour.
Airlines canceled some 1,900 flights, including about 700 at Washington’s Reagan, Dulles and Baltimore-Washington International airports. About 1,700 flights were canceled on Tuesday as the storm moved across the north-central United States.
The heavy, wet snow brought down power lines and tree limbs, and about 54,000 Dominion Resources Inc homes and businesses were without power in Virginia.
Coastal flood warnings were in effect for part of the Atlantic coast from Maryland north to New York’s Long Island and Connecticut. Authorities in Brick Township, on New Jersey’s northern shore, urged residents in flood-prone areas to evacuate. The heaviest snowfall was recorded at La Grange Park, Illinois, and at North Webster, Indiana, both with 11 inches.
Monique Bond, a spokeswoman with the Illinois State Patrol, said bad weather may have contributed to a deadly crash on Interstate Highway 70 in Marshall, Illinois, near the Indiana border. A female driver heading east on I-70 crossed the median and crashed into a westbound tanker truck. The driver of the car and her young child died in the accident.