US braces for another bitter storm

2015-03-05 08:35
Snow falls over Winsted Drive in Lakewood, Texas. (The Dallas Morning News, AP)

Snow falls over Winsted Drive in Lakewood, Texas. (The Dallas Morning News, AP)

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Washington - A winter storm stretching from Texas to southern New England and forecast on Wednesday to dump up to 30cm of snow on the eastern United States forced schools and local governments to close and grounded almost 1 800 flights.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain lashed Arkansas late on Wednesday as the storm crossed the state with thunder and lightning. School districts and colleges cancelled classes statewide, and CST Entergy, Arkansas' biggest power supplier, reported scattered outages.

The national weather service forecast between 15 to 30cm of snow reaching from the Tennessee Valley to the Middle Atlantic states on Thursday. The snow blast will be followed by temperatures up to 19°C below normal, it said.

"Moderate to significant sleet and freezing rain could be possible across the southern states," the NWS said.

Ahead of the storm, hundreds of school districts and governments, including state lawmakers in South Carolina and Tennessee, said they would close on Thursday.

With up to 20cm of snow forecast for Washington, the US House of Representatives will be closed on Thursday, along with the US naval academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

West Virginia governor Earl Ray Tomblin mobilised the state's National Guard ahead of the storm, citing the potential snowfall, rain and possible flooding.

Boston, which posted its coldest February on record, could see up to 8cm of snow from the approaching system, said NWS meteorologist Rebecca Gould.

If 5cm or more falls, the city would surpass its record annual snowfall total of nearly 274cm, set in 1995-96.

The winter storms have taken a toll on the city's commuter ferries and delayed or canceled subway and commuter rail trains over several workdays.

The severe weather forecast triggered cancellations of 1 757 US flights by Wednesday night, with Dallas/Fort Worth International the hardest hit airport, according to FlightAware.com.

Snow on Sunday and early on Monday fell from Washington to New England, leaving 13 to 15cm of fresh accumulation in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, according to the national weather service.

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