The Two-Way
11:33 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Snow Follows On Heels Of Ice Storm In The East

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 6:53 pm

(This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET)

A fast-moving winter storm swept through the Eastern U.S. on Tuesday, bringing several inches of snow to the region, causing flights to be canceled, traffic to be snarled and federal government offices in Washington, D.C., to be shut for the day.

Northern Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and southern New England got up to 6 inches of snow, and the nation's midsection experienced frigid temperatures.

By noon, however, the storm had largely tapered off and warmer temperatures turned snow into light rain and melted off much of the earlier accumulation.

It was the second dose of winter weather in the Eastern half of the U.S.

Far more snow is expected near the Great Lakes, where two clipper systems will bring snow on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Heavy Lake Effect snows will also impact the Lower Great Lakes into later this week, with up to two feet of accumulation," the weather agency says.

The weather has forced airlines to cancel more than 1,300 flights on Tuesday, according to commercial aviation tracking site FlightAware. Large airports in Newark, N.J., Dallas-Fort Worth and Philadelphia each reported more than 200 total cancellations for inbound and outbound flights, as did New York's LaGuardia Airport.

In the Washington, D.C., metro area, non-emergency federal employees were granted an excused absence Tuesday, while other employees were told to telecommute.

Many schools and businesses closed for the day, sparking a rash of tweets with the tag #snowday Tuesday morning.

And as is often the case, some people complained about the closings — while others complained about places being open.

In many areas, the precipitation is being followed by cold air that is keeping the snow, and ice from a storm earlier this week, intact.

That combination has introduced the idea of "cobblestone ice" to drivers in North Texas, where several inches of ice have accumulated since the weekend.

The Texas Department of Transportation's Ryan LaFontaine "says cobblestone ice is a combination of ice accumulation and sand laid down by TxDOT and city trucks — and then traffic compresses the stuff together to form a cobblestone-type surface, a thick layer of frozen ruts and potholes," reports NPR member station KERA.

"It has to be kind of busted up and become a slushy substance in order for us to plow it to the side," LaFontaine says.

KERA spoke to several truck drivers who were staying put at a Travel Center of America on I-35 near Denton, Texas.

"I'm from California and we chain up all the time to go across the mountain passes," trucker Jon Gandelman says. "That's just snow. When it's ice, you don't go anywhere."

Comparing the road surface to a skiing event, a local weatherman calls it "moguls for cars."

One final note: During the recent storm, someone put a sweater on a young pig so the animal could enjoy the snow. That happened Sunday, but we decided we had to share it here.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.