Snow blankets U.S. East; Washington offices, many schools closed

Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:57pm IST

1 of 2. Fly fishermen Mike Gasiecki and guide Dan Soper (L) fish the north fork of the south branch of the Potomac River during a winter blizzard in Hopeville Canyon, West Virginia December 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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REUTERS - Fresh winter snow moved into the U.S. mid-Atlantic region on Tuesday, shutting schools and offices in the nation's capital and elsewhere as the mid-section of the country remained in the grip of Arctic air that showed no signs of easing.

From 2 to 8 inches (5.1 cm to 20.3 cm) of snow was forecast to fall from northern Virginia, across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and into southern New England, Brian Korty, meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a forecast.

"What we really have is a fast but generally weak storm system moving across the mid-Atlantic region," said Korty. "We're basically in a cold winter pattern."

The new snowfall followed a swath of snow and sleet that swept through the nation over the weekend and Monday, dumping up to 10 inches or more on many areas. Treacherous traffic and power outages forced many government offices and schools to close.

Federal government offices in the Washington, D.C., area were shut on Tuesday, according to the Office of Personnel Management said.

School districts in Washington and in suburban counties in Maryland also canceled classes, citing emergency weather conditions. Schools were also closed in Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell announced that state offices were also closed Tuesday due to dangerous road conditions, and encouraged residents to stay off the roads.

About 1,000 flights were canceled nationwide on Tuesday, according to tracking website Flightaware.com.

BITTER COLD THROUGH WEDNESDAY

Bitter Arctic air in the upper Great Plains and Rocky Mountains was expected to persist through Wednesday, with the coldest weather extending from the Nevada-Utah region into Minnesota, the weather service said.

Temperatures were 8 degrees below zero (minus 17.8 Celsius) early Tuesday morning in Pershing County, Nevada, where rescue workers scoured a mountain area for a couple and four children, missing since Sunday.

The six were last seen near an abandoned mining camp in remote northwestern Nevada, where they had gone to play in the snow. The Pershing County Sheriff's Office said authorities feared the family would not last long in the bitter cold.

Thousands of homes and businesses were without power on Monday night as snow and ice covered roads, highways and airport runways from Texas and Oklahoma east to Virginia and north through Pennsylvania.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Additional reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington, D.C., Barbara Goldberg in New York, Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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