Winter storm wallops U.S. East Coast

By midafternoon, the Nor'easter had brought a wintry mix to Washington and wind-whipped snow to New York City, parts of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania as it threatened a swath of the country that is home to more than 50 million people.

The sprawling system could dump up to 2 feet of snow in an area stretching from eastern Pennsylvania to New York's Catskill Mountains, with lesser amounts of a foot or more in the rest of the Northeast, forecasters said.

Officials throughout the area urged motorists to stay off the roads and residents to stay home.