By Ben Brumfield, CNN
(CNN) — A storm that set snowfall records in Chicago arrived in Washington, D.C. early Wednesday. It filled the sky with flakes, but with temperatures well above freezing, little of the white should accumulate for long.
Just west of the nation’s capital, it could dump up to 20 inches of snow but may turn into a mix of rain and snow as it nears the Atlantic Ocean, the National Weather Service said.
Ed Carter is ready for snow. He works for the Virginia Department of Transportation in Winchester, which has deployed 200 vehicles to combat any accumulation.
“We’re in our mobilization level 5, which is our highest mobilization level,” he said.
The snow is slushy, making it heavier than powder snow, he said.
At least 4,723 customers lost power in Virginia shortly after the snow arrived.
Snow was still falling early Wednesday in Ohio. Schools closed in the capital Columbus for the day Wednesday.
The federal government has closed offices for Wednesday. Emergency personnel will be expected to work as well as those equipped to work from home. D.C. schools will also be closed.
In its wake, the storm has left about a foot of snow in parts of Illinois, Minnesota and North Dakota, and paved a white swath through across the Upper Midwest.
Plows removed snow from roads and trucks covered them with salt and sand in the effected states, but motorists still slipped off of roadways, leaving snow-covered cars to be retrieved by tow trucks.
Snow put a drag on air traffic leading to delays and cancellations, but planes continued to fly in Columbus, Ohio and Minneapolis, Minnesota, after plows slung the snow from runways.
Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport had 6 inches of snow Tuesday, besting a 1999 record for the date by 2.2 inches. It was the first 6-inch snowfall in the Windy City since the Groundhog Day blizzard of 2011, the weather service said.
O’Hare canceled 900 flights on Tuesday, while Chicago’s other major airport, Midway, canceled 240 flights, according to the city’s aviation department.
The storm deposited heavy snow on portions of the Ohio Valley and upper Midwest on Tuesday.
By midafternoon Tuesday, Lake City, Minnesota, had been blanketed with 11.5 inches of snow since Sunday morning. New Hampton, Iowa, had 8.6 inches and the level stood at 15 inches in Langdon, North Dakota.
In all, nearly 30,000 customers have lost electricity from the snow.
CNN’s Mariano Castillo, Dana Ford, Phil Gast and Joe Johns contributed to this report