WASHINGTON — A winter storm marched into the Middle 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.
There were bigger problems elsewhere in the region, though.
On the Jersey Shore, still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, winds gusted past 60 mph in some parts. Lashing winds blew off part of the roof of a Stone Harbor, N.J., condominium complex and Ocean City officials advised residents to prepare for possible flooding. Maryland's Bay Bridge, which connects Maryland's Eastern Shore with the Baltimore-Washington region, closed in both directions temporarily because of wind gusts of up to 60 mph.
In Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency and about 50 National Guard soldiers were sent to help clear roads. Up to 20 inches of snow piled up in central and western parts of the state. More than 200,000 people in Virginia were without power and another 40,000 in New Jersey were in the dark. The storm dumped 2 feet of snow in parts of West Virginia, leaving more than 20,000 customers without power.
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.
In Pennsylvania and Ohio, many areas had 4 to 6 inches of snow. Forecasters issued a winter storm warning for Philadelphia and parts of central Pennsylvania through this morning.