'Snowquester' Descends on Nation's Capital

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WASHINGTON -- The storm system that menaced the Midwest is expected to pummel the nation's capital with its heaviest snowfall in three years.

The storm brought a light dusting to the Washington area overnight Monday and into the morning. But the accumulation initially had a tough time sticking around because of the constant shifting between rain and snow.

By early afternoon, some cities, like Charlottesville, Va., saw a blanket of snow.

This is the same winter storm that buried Minneapolis in 9 inches of snow and covered Chicago with 10 inches, the most it's gotten this season.

The weather forced the cancellation of more than 3,600 flights, including close to a thousand at Chicago's O'Hare alone.

In the nation's capital, city officials had the following warning for residents and commuters.

"The best thing that people in the city can do is to stay off the streets," Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray said.

They are trying to avoid deadly accidents, like one in Wisconsin where a truck slid off an icy bridge, killing the driver.

The storm has been dubbed the "snowquester" in honor of the government sequester, or automatic spending cuts that took effect over the weekend.

People in the storm's path weren't taking any chances, stocking up on everything they needed beforehand.

"What we had here this morning all sold in the first few hours, so we went back to get more," Doug Satterfield, of Rollier's Hardware, said.

Forecasters predict between 6 to 10 inches of snow will cover the Washington area by the time the system makes its way through, and as much as 16 inches could blanket the nearby mountains of western Maryland.

The federal government closed its offices Wednesday, excusing all non-emergency employees for the day.

Congress ended the week earlier than planned, but not before the House squeezed in a vote to fund the government through September and avoid a shutdown at the end of the month.

For some winter-weary residents, spring -- now officially less than two weeks away -- can't come soon enough.

"The snow? I'm tired of it. Yeah, it's been enough," one Indiana resident said.

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