At least four people have died and scores were injured and stranded as a snowstorm pounded St. Louis and other parts of Missouri, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.
In a tweet Saturday morning, the patrol said it also had responded to 48 injuries, 723 crashes, 1,252 stranded motorists and 2,968 calls for service.
St. Louis had recorded 10.4 inches of snow by 1:30 p.m. ET, with higher accumulations in other parts of Missouri. In Columbia, 15.5 inches were reported and Harrisburg had 17 inches.
The storm is headed east, where it’s expected to blanket Washington and Baltimore, forecasters said. Four to 6 inches are predicted for Washington and 2 to 3 inches for Baltimore, they said.
“We have a strong snowstorm that’s stretching 1,400 miles from Kansas to the East Coast,” CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. “St. Louis is seeing its worst snowstorm in five years. We’re going to see a significant snow event for the mid-Atlantic to start the year for 2019.”
More than 65 million people are under a winter storm advisory, watch or warning.
St. Louis blues
St. Louis was expected to get another half inch of snow Saturday night and perhaps two-tenths of an inch on Sunday, CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford said.
If the city gets as much as a foot of snow by late Saturday, it would be the most snow a single storm has dumped on St. Louis since 2014, when a January blizzard left 10.8 inches, the National Weather Service said.
In Kansas City, Missouri, 7 inches of snow was reported early Saturday afternoon.
The storm was pretty much over by late afternoon when the Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Indianapolis Colts in an NFL playoff game, but seats in Arrowhead Stadium were still covered in snow and fans tailgated under tents in the stadium parking lot.
“So, by that time, most of the snow will have already fallen, but there will still be flurries through the beginning of the game,” Brink said.
The Missouri Department of Transportation warned residents not to travel in the storm if it wasn’t necessary. The department reported incidents and stalls on interstates overnight. But it cited progress Saturday morning as crews worked to clear routes and bring “water and food to stranded motorists.”
The DOT tweeted early in the afternoon that all the eastbound lanes of I-44 had been cleared. But the patrol still encouraged people to stay off the roads.
At St. Louis Lambert International Airport, “a winter storm has forced dozens of cancellations across all airlines at STL. More cancellations are likely on Saturday and Sunday,” airport officials said.
The University of Missouri men’s basketball game at the University of South Carolina was canceled Saturday and moved to Sunday because of weather-related travel problems, the team tweeted.
Washington and Baltimore in storm’s path
Along with Washington and Baltimore, Philadelphia is predicted to get 1 to 2 inches of snow, and there is a possibility of light accumulation in New York along the storm’s northern edge.
The Appalachians will pick up ice and snow in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, forecasters said. A half inch of ice and 3 to 5 inches of snow are predicted.
There is a small chance the southern Appalachians will get enough freezing rain and sleet to turn into an ice event Saturday into Sunday.
More heavy rain also will fall on the saturated South. The Southeast has seen abundant precipitation in December and January, and the additional rain could put a strain on already-high rivers.