Another major storm headed to snowy Mid-Atlantic

Another major storm headed to snowy Mid-Atlantic

Published February 9, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Snow blew across the Midwest on Tuesday on track for the hard-hit Mid-Atlantic region, where federal government offices were closed for a second day and utility workers struggled to restore power knocked out by a weekend blizzard.

The storm hit the Midwest early, closing schools and greeting commuters with slick, slushy roads from Minneapolis and Chicago to Louisville, Ky. Hundreds of flights were canceled at Chicago's airports as the storm moved across Illinois, where up to a foot of snow was forecast.

Powerful winds and snow were expected to hit Mid-Atlantic states by the afternoon, and could leave as much as 20 inches of new snow in Washington and 18 inches near Philadelphia - a Northeast travel hub - by Wednesday night.

Parts of the region were already buried under nearly 3 feet.

A Safeway grocery store in the Dupont Circle area of Washington had milk and some bread Tuesday, but many other items were picked over from the last storm. There was no shredded cheese, and people who wanted Diet Coke or Brussels sprouts were out of luck.

David Fiore, 49, a federal employee off for the second day, left with two bags of groceries. He had gone to four stores looking for milk the night before, but they were either out of it or too crowded. By Tuesday morning, Safeway had restocked, so he left with a gallon of milk, more than he usually buys.

"It's that sort of hoarding instinct," he said.

Greg Ten Eyck, a spokesman for Safeway Inc., said road conditions were making it hard for many stores to restock following the "epic" crowds before last week's storm.

On Capitol Hill, the House canceled all debate and votes scheduled for Tuesday. The Senate postponed votes it had planned for Monday evening, but was set to convene at 2 p.m. and hold two votes later in the day.

Airlines that shut down flights to Washington over the weekend warned that more would be canceled and that travelers who didn't depart by Tuesday night were likely out of luck. In Chicago, Southwest Airlines canceled all of its flights at Midway International Airport through Wednesday morning.

In the East, people were filling their pantries in case they got stuck at home again.

"Getting around is a pain right now as it is, so slushy and sloppy," said Meghan Garaghan, 28, as she stocked up on staples and sweets at a supermarket in Philadelphia, which already had 27 inches of snow. "I don't want to think about what it's going to be like with another foot and a half of snow dumped on top of this mess."

The storm brought out the best in some: In Alexandria, Va., when word got out that a family living at the bottom of a hill on an unplowed street needed to get their teenage daughter whose cancer is in remission out to an important doctor's appointment, neighbors quickly converged. The entire street was shoveled before many neighbors even had shoveled their own driveways. Up the street, children tired of playing outside in the snow created craft items and had an impromptu sale to benefit victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

In West Virginia, where 40 counties were under winter storm warnings, Gov. Joe Manchin urged people to make sure snow was cleared from roofs of public buildings to avoid a repeat of 1998, when cave-ins were blamed for at least three deaths.

Some spots, including parts of Maryland, had nearly 3 feet of snow from the earlier storm. One scientist said if all that fell on the East Coast were melted, it would fill 12 million Olympic swimming pools or 30,000 Empire State buildings. Philadelphia and Washington each need about 9 more inches to give the cities their snowiest winters since 1884, the first year records were kept.

Jerry Bennett, manager of the Strosniders hardware store in Silver Spring, Md., said he sold 500 snow shovels in two hours Friday. Since then, customers have been stalking shipments.

"Every third question is, 'Do you have shovels?'" Bennett said. "Every three hours, we can answer 'yes,' and then they're gone."

The storm that began Friday closed schools, and some 230,000 federal workers in Washington had Monday and Tuesday off. Power was still out for tens of thousands of homes and businesses, and utilities said deep snow was hindering some crews trying to fix damaged power lines before the next storm hits.

A new wave of cold residents was checking into the Hilton in Silver Spring, including Bill and Ann Hilliard and their two elderly cats. Temperatures in their powerless home had dropped into the 40s and with another foot of snow forecast, they didn't want to stay home.

Ann Hilliard recently had part of her leg amputated and their neighbors helped them out of the neighborhood.

"There was no way to get her out otherwise," he said.


Associated Press writers Jessica Gresko, Laurie Kellman and Nafeesa Syeed in Washington; Sarah Karush in Falls Church, Va.; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Md.; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pa.; Nancy Benac in Arlington, Va.; Tom Breen in Charleston, W.Va.; Joann Loviglio in Philadelphia and Sarah Brumfield and Stephanie Stoughton in Silver Spring, Md., contributed to this story.

Written by BRETT ZONGKER, Associated Press Writer


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