A winter storm marched into the Mid-Atlantic region Wednesday, dumping nearly 2 feet of snow in some places and knocking out power to about 250,000 homes and businesses. It largely spared the nation’s capital, which was expecting much worse and had all but shut down.
Officials in Washington didn’t want a repeat of 2011, when a rush-hour snowstorm stranded commuters for hours, so they told people to stay off the roads and gave workers the day off. Dubbed the “snowquester,” the storm closed government offices, just as the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester were expected to do.
The storm pummeled the nation’s midsection Tuesday, killing at least four people in weather-related traffic accidents. It was forecast to head to the Northeast today, bringing strong winds, more snow and the possibility of coastal flooding to New England.
Wednesday, lashing winds blew off part of the roof of a Stone Harbor, N.J., condominium complex, and Ocean City officials advised residents to move their cars to higher ground in preparation of possible flooding. Maryland’s Bay Bridge, which connects Maryland’s Eastern Shore with the Baltimore-Washington region, closed in both directions because of wind gusts of up to 60 mph.
The bridge reopened Wednesday evening.
In Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency, and about 50 National Guard soldiers were sent out to help clear roads. Up to 20 inches of snow piled up in central and western parts of the state.
In Pennsylvania and Ohio, many areas had 4 to 6 inches of snow.