Foul weather brings the Mid-Atlantic to a halt

A powerful snowstorm pounded the nation’s capital and other mid-Atlantic states early Saturday, snarling down traffic and bringing travel to a virtual standstill.

Buses and above-ground rail services were suspended in Washington, and only underground trains would run Saturday, transportation officials said.

Cancellation of ground transportation comes a few hours after flights were canceled at the Washington-Baltimore area’s three main airports and at Philadelphia International Airport.

Delta Air Lines had suspended flights in and out of Washington, Baltimore, Maryland and Philadelphia, said Delta spokesman Anthony Black. There will be limited service to Philadelphia on Saturday, he said.

The company hopes to get flights back in service by Sunday.

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In Maryland, Jawauna Greene, spokeswoman for the state transit administration, said the agency is assessing the metro route structure in Baltimore and its suburbs to determine where services will be offered.

“We’ve been up all night assessing the situation,” Greene said.

The Metro is running special snow trains on its heavy rail and light rail lines to keep tracks clear, she said.

Greene added that supervisors are checking the power lines that operate the light rail system to make sure they are safe to use. She said the agency will defer to the City of Baltimore Public Works Department in determining what routes to operate on Saturday.

One of the major concerns is the handicapped mobility service, she said.

“At this time, we’re limiting mobility service to people with medical appointments only,” Greene said.

A weather-related accident in Virginia’s Wythe County left two dead on Friday, state police said. A father and son stopped on a shoulder to help injured occupants of a disabled vehicle. Minutes later, a tractor-trailer jackknifed and struck their van while trying to avoid hitting the disabled car.

The father and son died at the scene, state police said.

Virginia state police said the accident was one of many crashes and disabled cars reported.

Winter storm warnings were in effect from southern Indiana eastward to New York City and south to North Carolina, with blizzard warnings for Washington, Delaware and the New Jersey coast.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell declared a state of emergency Friday night and ordered all vehicles off the roads by 10 p.m. ET.

Forecasters were predicting that the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland, west of the nation’s capital, would receive the most snow — possibly 3 feet.

“Tomorrow will be a day when everybody’s digging out,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said. “And Sunday, for that matter, too.”

Accumulations of 20 to 30 inches are expected in the D.C. area. It could turn out to be one of the heaviest snowfalls Washington has seen, forecasters said.

The storm is expected to produce record snowfall for Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and metropolitan areas, according to the National Weather Service.

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