Dec 9, 2013 10:21 AM by David Randall
A blast of winter weather wiped hundreds of flights off the boards Monday after causing dozens of wrecks, including one that tangled up about 50 cars, on snowy and icy roads in the Northeast.
Major cities along the East Coast faced a tough commute to start the workweek, and they were in for a second round of winter weather on Tuesday. Forecasters said that Washington could get 3 to 5 inches of snow, Philadelphia 1 to 3 inches and New York at least an inch.
"It will be quite a 48 hours for that region," said Kevin Roth, a lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel.
The first round of weather came from Texas and the Mid-South, where marathons were canceled in Dallas and Memphis, Tenn., over the weekend and dozens more holiday events had to be scrapped.
As the system moved northeast, it wrought havoc on the roads. The biggest tie-up was on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, where a driver got out of his car after a minor accident and then was struck and killed himself.
That set off a chain reaction of crashes behind him, ultimately involving about 50 cars and shutting down part of the turnpike for seven hours.
In New Jersey, a car slid off Interstate 78, killing two people. Icy roads triggered a 24-car pileup late Sunday night just north of New York City, causing scattered minor injuries, police said.
And a 20-car crash early Monday closed southbound lanes of Interstate 95 for two hours near Greenwich, Conn.
A foot of snow fell Sunday in Newark, Del., 11 inches in Penns Grove, N.J., and 10 inches in Charlestown, Md., the National Weather Service said.
Snow coated four NFL games. There was so much at the Philadelphia Eagles' game against the Detroit Lions that workers had to use snowblowers to clear the yard markers, and the referee told teams during the pregame coin toss that he would improvise if the coin landed on an angle.
Almost 1,400 flights scheduled for Monday were canceled by 8 a.m., according to the flight-tracking site FlightAware.
That brought the total nationwide cancellations since Friday to more than 5,000 across the country.
Hundreds of the Monday cancellations were into and out of Dallas-Fort Worth, the biggest hub for American Airlines. DFW was trying to clear its backlog from the weekend, but the effort was complicated by freezing fog.
As the East tried to navigate its tricky commute, a second blast of arctic air was close behind. Temperatures in the single digits or lower covered the map Monday morning as far west as Oregon, east to Wisconsin and south to Arizona and Missouri.
Tom Niziol, a winter weather expert at The Weather Channel, said that the low-dipping jet stream would move east and accelerate, with such strong upper-level winds that it would become known as a "jet streak."
The result was expected to be another day of hazardous driving and flight cancellations in the Northeast on Tuesday.
Forecasters said that snow, sleet and freezing rain would slicken the roads again just in time for the Tuesday morning commute. By early Wednesday, Washington could get as much as 5 inches of snow, with lesser amounts in Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
"They went from a snowstorm on Sunday to ice on Monday to another snowstorm on Tuesday," Roth said. "The morning commute into D.C. is going to be pretty tough, and obviously air travel will be hampered."
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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