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A major snow storm is sweeping through the US Mid-Atlantic region where plows still haven't touched some roads, resulting in closed schools, stranded people, and government closings.

The storm hit the Midwest part of the US early Tuesday, shutting down schools and greeting commuters with slick, slushy roads from Indianapolis to Chicago.

Powerful wind and snow were expected to crawl into the Mid-Atlantic States by the afternoon, expected to leave as much as 20 inches of new snow in the Washington, DC area and about18 inches in another major metropolitan area of Philadelphia by Wednesday night.

Parts of these regions were already buried under nearly 3 feet of record snow that fell throughout the Washington area last Friday and Saturday.

Airlines that shut down flights to the three Washington area airports over the weekend warned that more flights would be canceled and that travelers who didn't depart by Tuesday night would likely face cancellations.

One scientist observed that if all the snow that fell on the East Coast were melted, it would fill 12 million Olympic swimming pools or 30,000 Empire State buildings.

Philadelphia and Washington each need about nine more inches to give the cities their snowiest winters since 1884, the first year records were kept.