A second major snow storm in less than a week was blowing on Tuesday towards the Washington area, where federal government offices were closed for a second day and utility workers struggled to restore power knocked out by a weekend blizzard.
The storm could leave as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of new snow in Washington and 18 inches (45 centimeters) near Philadelphia - a Northeast travel hub - by Wednesday night.
Parts of the region were already buried under nearly 3 feet (a meter) of snow.
Airlines that shut down flights to Washington over the weekend warned that more would be cancelled and that travellers who didn’t depart by Tuesday night were likely out of luck.
The storm hit the Midwest early Tuesday, closing schools and greeting commuters with slick, slushy roads in cities like Minneapolis and Chicago. Powerful winds and snow were expected to hit the East Coast by the afternoon.
The storm that began on Friday closed schools, and some 230,000 federal workers in Washington had on Monday and Tuesday off. Power was still out for tens of thousands of homes and businesses, and utilities said deep snow was hindering some crews trying to fix damaged power lines before the next storm hits.
The snowbound U.S. Senate met only for a few minutes on Monday, and the House called off floor votes on Tuesday.
Washington and Philadelphia each need about another 9 inches (23 centimeters) to give the cities their snowiest winters since 1884, the first year records were kept.