Heaviest snowfall on record forecast as second severe blizzard causes deaths and disruption in eastern US

A massive blizzard dubbed "Snowmageddon" by president Barack Obama is causing chaos in the eastern US, with parts of the region buried under more than 20in [50cm] of snow.

Washington DC has already seen more than 10in settle in what forecasters have warned could be the heaviest snowfall in the American capital since records began, with 2.5ft or more predicted.

Parts of Maryland and West Virginia are already buried under more than 20in and forecasters have said up to 2in of snow could fall per hour across the eastern part of the country today.

Authorities have blamed the storm for hundreds of accidents, including the deaths of a father and son in Virginia when they were struck by a tractor trailer.

Hundreds of thousands of people have also been without electricity, with more cuts predicted due to downed power lines.

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Airlines have cancelled flights and buses and trains in the Washington area have been suspended.

The blizzard comes less than two months after a storm dumped more than 16in of snow on the capital. Snowfalls of this magnitude, let alone two in one winter, are rare in the area. According to the National Weather Service, Washington has received more than a foot of snow only 13 times since 1870.

The heaviest snowfall on record was 28in in January 1922. However, as much as 3ft is believed to have fallen on Washington and Baltimore in 1772, before official records began. The incident is referred to in the diaries of former US presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.