Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY
Winter's late-season grip on the nation continued into the first full week of spring with a powerful snowstorm moving east, leaving major highways closed, flights canceled and heavy accumulation in the Midwest.
The largest snowfall totals of 10 inches or more fell across Kansas and over St. Louis, Mo., before the storm began churning up the Ohio River Valley toward the East Coast on Sunday.
Two distinct patterns of heavy snow were following one another across the nation's midsection, engulfing areas of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The storm was forecast to bring heavy snow to portions of the Midwest. About 6 to 10 inches were forecast from Missouri to Ohio on Sunday. Winter storm warnings were issued for much of central Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
Forecasters Sunday said travel across the Mid-Atlantic will be disrupted with slush and snow accumulating along the I-95 corridor from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. With temperatures expected to hover around freezing Monday, it was difficult for officials to be certain how quickly snow would melt.
"A couple of degrees is going to mean a lot" in the Mid-Atlantic region," AccuWeather.com meteorologist Tom Kines said. "There's going to be plenty of precipitation; it's just a matter of how much of that is going to accumulate."
In the west, Highway I-70 was shut down from Denver - where 100 flights were canceled - into Kansas Saturday as truckers pulled off treacherous roadways and hotels quickly filled up.
Forecasters were predicting a few inches in and around the nation's capital and further to the north in New York City. Heavier accumulation was expected in areas in between, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia.
"It's going to be a major deal, especially for people living in the suburbs of the major cities," says Mark Ressler, a meteorologist with The Weather Channel, adding that flight delays will be likely. "I think travel will be kind of a mess no matter what you're trying to do (Monday)."
New England is expected to be largely spared after enduring a difficult winter.
Spring snowstorms in the Midwest are not unprecedented through even April, though many weather officials see this storm as possibly the last major gasp of winter.
"We are kind of coming to the end of any real major snowstorms in the Mid-Atlantic," Ressler said.
There was the threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across the South. The storm is expected to be out to sea and gone by Tuesday.
Contributing: Katharine Lackey