Normally, as a Minnesotan I would sniff at the idea that the nation’s capital would shut down over a few snowflakes, but this is more than just a little winter dusting. The National Weather Service predicts accumulations between 6″ and 10″ in Washington, which has closed down for the day. That kind of snowfall could do the same out here, depending on the rate of accumulation.
This storm goes much farther than just the Beltway:
Meteorologists expect the storm system to reemerge off the coast of Virginia, blowing into a significant coastal storm for the East Coast – bringing heavy snowfall from Virginia to New England.
The snow should start falling in most areas between 10 a.m. and noon. Major cities from Richmond, Va., north to Portland, Maine, are forecast to get at least half a foot of snow, with snowfall totals topping a foot in some areas. Areas close to the coastline should expect near-blizzard conditions Tuesday afternoon into the evening.
That storm threat caused the federal government to close offices in the Washington, D.C. area for today. Additionally, nearly 2,000 U.S. flights were cancelled because of the storm by 4:30 a.m., according to FlightAware.com.
Those flight cancellations will likely impact flights throughout the US, as planes needed for other flights end up stuck in East Coast airports. What’s causing the big drop in temperatures and snowfall? The return of the Polar Vortex:
If the Polar Vortex has returned, it seems a little less intense here in Minnesota. As I write this post, it’s -7º, and the predicted high will be 2º above zero. That’s cold enough, but nowhere near as bad as the last storm, and won’t last as long, either. By Friday, the high will be 28º.
If you want to do business with the federal government, though, you’ll need to wait until at least tomorrow. That is also when the March for Life will take place, when hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists rally at the Mall to protest on the 41st anniversary of Roe v Wade. A little snow and cold won’t dampen their spirits, but let’s hope and pray that they will be able to get there by tomorrow.