Much of the northeastern United States is battling deep snows and blizzard conditions Wednesday, as a second major winter storm gripped the East Coast from Washington, D.C. up to Canada.
Residents from the Washington, D.C. area all the way up to New York City and further north were advised to stay indoors as the third powerful storm of the season made its way up the East Coast.
Blizzard conditions with blowing and drifting snow wreaked havoc on the roadways and shut down schools as well as federal, state and local government offices.
The federal government in Washington shut down for the third consecutive day, and 230,000 federal workers were told to stay home. Tens of thousands of people have been without power since another storm crippled the area last week with more than one meter of snow in some areas.
Maryland officials went on local television stations to urge people to remain home and not venture out. "We are asking people to please, if you do not have an emergency, please, stay off the roadway," he said. "Give these road crews a chance to clean up the roads. Give the police officers and firefighters out here a chance to respond to true emergencies."
The Washington, D.C. area was still digging out from the record breaking storm last Friday and Saturday.
If anything, this latest storm packed even more powerful winds that reduced visibility for snow-plow crews and emergency responders out on the roads.
Jenni McCord is with the Virginia Department of Transportation. "We are definitely seeing white-out conditions right now, very, very minimal visibility out there," he said. "Some of our crews are certainly pulling off the roads at this point just to wait for that to die down. That is why we are asking folks to stay off the roads. If our crews can barely see, then we know that folks have very, very dangerous driving conditions right now."
The storm caused hundreds of flights to be canceled at airports in the Washington area, Philadelphia, New York City and as far west as Chicago.
Weather Channel reporter Julie Martin monitored the impact of the storm near Philadelphia. "It is not stopping anytime soon, I will tell you that much," she said. "We have a blizzard warning in effect through midnight tonight. We are going to be down to zero visibility throughout this afternoon and travel will be basically at a standstill."
Schools canceled classes up and down the East Coast, even in New York City, which rarely calls off school due to weather.
Congress was not in session again Wednesday and the House of Representatives put off all votes until later in the month.
Weather service record keepers say Washington, D.C. was moving close to the highest total snowfall in a single year since 1884 when weather records were first kept.