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What A Blast: As Snow Ends, Wicked Cold Moves In

Update at 6:11 p.m. ET. Now The Cold:

Most of the snow is now off shore. What comes next is bitter — perhaps historic — cold for parts of the Midwest and East that's more reminiscent of January, than the beginning of meteorological spring. Here's how Accuweather sums it up:

"In the wake of the storm over parts of the Plains and East, temperatures plunged 25 to 50 degrees in a few hours and reached the lowest levels ever recorded in March for some locations.

"In Austin, Texas, the temperature on Sunday went from 72 degrees at 8:47 a.m. to 40 degrees at noon Central Time. In Houston, temperatures dropped from a Sunday afternoon high of 77 degrees to 28 degrees Monday morning.

"Temperatures at Kansas City, Mo., plummeted to minus 3 F Monday morning, breaking the old all-time record low temperature for March of minus 1 F set in 1962."

Weather.com reports that a separate disturbance will bring "some light freezing rain or sleet to parts of central and southeast Texas Monday night into early Tuesday, including San Antonio, Austin and possibly Houston."

Weather.com says this could result in dangerous travel.

Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. Bit Less Than Expected?

Though the storm that's been rolling across much of the nation continues to cause huge problems for drivers, fliers and anyone else who tries to move around, there's good news for those in the Washington-Baltimore region who don't want to be buried in snow.

The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog says that after looking at signs of drier air moving into the area, "we can pretty much rule out the high-end of our forecast range" for snowfall.

"Snow totals so far are generally in the 3-6 inch range," the blog says, and it's likely only an inch or so more will fall in coming hours.

But as this story from West Virginia's Charleston Gazette shows, things aren't exactly great in many places:

"State highways officials say road crews are out this morning clearing roads, but warned that they are having a hard time keeping up with heavy snow, and told drivers to stay off the roads if possible."

Our original post picks up the story:

Unfortunately for those who are sick of snow, sleet and ice during what's been an especially harsh winter for much of the nation, the weather forecasters appear to have been right yet again.

The storm system that they said would bring some nasty precipitation to a stretch of the nation from Oklahoma all the way to the Mid-Atlantic has lived up to its billing.

A west-to-east look at headlines helps to tell the story:

-- Oklahoma City. "Winter weather advisory in effect: Stay off roads if possible." (KFOR-TV)

-- Memphis. "STORM UPDATES: More trees, power lines down; list of closures developing." (The Commercial Appeal)."

-- Cincinnati. "Winter storm leaves roads a snowy, icy mess." (The Cincinnati Enquirer)

-- Washington, D.C. "Heavy snow this morning, difficult travel; then frigid." (The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog)

-- Philadelphia. "An 'Upside Down' Winter Storm." (CBS Philly)

The National Weather Service says this "late season winter storm will continue to shift east through Monday. Heavy snow is forecast from the Ohio Valley into the Mid-Atlantic through Monday night making for hazardous travel conditions. Unseasonably cold temperatures more typical of January will prevail east of the Rocky Mountains for the next few days keeping winter around for a while longer."

As you would expect, schools are canceled in many of the affected towns and cities. Federal government offices are closed in Washington, D.C. Flight cancellations and delays are starting to build. FlightAware.com says that as the day began, more than 2,000 flights scheduled to depart from or land at U.S. airports had already been canceled Monday.

The system is the same one that drenched parts of California last week. The Weather Service says there will be "heavy rain over parts of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California" on Monday.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.