Airports along U.S. east coast brace for winter storm, Washington hunkers down

WASHINGTON – Spring is in sight, but winter still has an icy grip on the eastern United States, with heavy snow and plummeting temperatures causing flight delays and cancellations at major airports on Monday.

Nearly 3,000 flights in the United States were cancelled early Monday, according to flight tracking site — about one-tenth of the 30,000 flights usually scheduled in the U.S. on a typical day.

Air Canada (TSX:AC.A) was among the airlines warning customers to expect weather disruptions for service to Washington, D.C., as well as Baltimore, Raleigh, S.C., Nashville, Tenn., and major cities in the U.S. Northeast: Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The latest frigid blow of the harsh winter threatened as much as 10 inches of snow (25 centimetres) by the end of the day in Washington, Baltimore and elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Up to six inches (15 centimetres) of snow was predicted to the north in Philadelphia, while nearly a foot of snow was expected in parts of New Jersey.

Snow began falling in the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C., early Monday, and officials warned people to stay off treacherous, icy roads — shut much of the city down.

The federal government closed its Washington-area offices Monday, with non-emergency personnel granted excused absences for the day.

Schools were cancelled, bus service was halted in places and federal government workers in the DC area were told to stay home Monday.

“We’re tired of it. We’re sick of it,” said Martin Peace, a web developer from the Washington suburb of Arlington, Va.

He and his wife were walking on the National Mall with their young daughter Sunday before the frigid weather blew in. Both bemoaned the number of snowy days this year.

“It’s been hard with a baby being stuck in the house,” said Nicole Peace, who works in human resources. “We don’t really get the day off, but then we have to work from home with the baby, which is hard.”

School systems in Baltimore, Washington and many suburban areas were closed, as were all Smithsonian museums except for the National Air and Space Museum. However, the U.S. Supreme Court was expected to be open and had arguments scheduled for Monday.

On Sunday, a mix of freezing rain and heavy snow hit central and eastern states. Authorities warned of possible power outages and flight disruptions from weather that could affect millions.


Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Steve McMillan in Richmond, Va.; Bree Fowler in New York; Joe Mandak in Pittsburgh; Dan Sewell in West Chester, Ohio; Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton, N.J.; and Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tenn., and The Canadian Press in Toronto.