Snowstorm pounding St. Louis has Washington and Baltimore in its sights

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Hundreds of people were stranded for hours as snow and freezing rain rendered parts of Interstate 44 in Missouri almost impassable on Friday evening. In Columbia, 15.5 inches were reported and Harrisburg had 17 inches. A half inch of ice and 3 to 5 inches of snow are predicted.

A massive winter storm, stretching from the Great Plains to the East Coast, is dumping snow and causing hundreds of traffic accidents as thousands shelter under winter storm warnings. Snow is covering roads in those states.

Washington, where many federal government offices are closed due to the US government shutdown, is expected to receive 15 cm to 20 cm of snow from this storm, according to the National Weather Service. More than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow has fallen in some places around St. Louis.

The Appalachians will pick up ice and snow in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, forecasters said. In St. Louis on Friday night, parts of I-44, I-55, I-64 and I-70 were partially closed because of current snowfall, and more is on the way. It also hit parts of other states including Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

"This is not the first storm we've had in the St. Louis area", Panus, who is with the St. Louis County Police Department of Emergency Management, said by telephone.

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The storm is expected to drop 8 to 12 inches of snow in the St. Louis metropolitan area into eastern IL between Friday and early Sunday.

Snow will reach the mid-Atlantic by late Saturday through Sunday, but snow totals will be lower there. The center said about five to 10 inches of snow was expected in Virginia and three to five inches was expected to fall near Washington, D.C.

Along with Washington and Baltimore, Philadelphia is predicted to get 1 to 2 inches of snow, and there is a possibility of light accumulation in NY along the storm's northern edge.

There is a small chance that the southern Appalachians get enough freezing rain and sleet to turn into an ice event Saturday into Sunday. The snow had tapered off by the time the game started mid afternoon, but stadium crews worked for hours before the game to clear the stadium's lot, field and seats in anticipation of a full house for the playoff game.

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