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North American blizzard of 2003
The Blizzard of 2003, also called the Presidents' Day Storm of 2003, or Presidents' Day Storm II, was a very big snowstorm on the East Coast of the United States and Canada, which started on February 15 and ended on February 18, 2003. Lots of snow fell in the big cities in the Northeast US, making it the biggest snowstorm of the snowy winter of 2002-2003. All cities from Washington DC to Boston were covered in a lot of snow, and people could not go around because of the bad weather. In Baltimore and Boston, this was the biggest snowstorm ever recorded.
The life of the storm
The storm started in the southern Rockies on February 14, and moved to southern Missouri and the Lower Tennessee Valley in a few days. It brought heavy rain and bad weather to the Deep South, including the nation's first tornado of 2003. In the north, snow and ice affected the Midwest. Southern Iowa and eastern Illinois also got lots of snow, with 11 inches (28 cm) in Des Moines. In Kentucky this was mostly an ice storm, with some places getting up to 3/4" (2 cm) of ice. At the same time, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore got a little bit of snow on February 15. The weather was very cold, and the storm moved very slowly.
But early on February 16, lots of snow started falling in those two cities, and the snow started in Philadelphia. Heavy snow kept coming, falling very fast. It was also very cold, so the snow kept piling up. The heavy snow continued all day, and it reached New York City in the evening. At about the same time, the snow changed to sleet in Washington, D.C., and that's why the city got less snow than other cities. In the rest of the Northeast, however, the snow stayed for much of the night. The sleet changed back to snow by the next morning in Washington, D.C., and soon ended. Blizzard Warnings were given in New York City and Boston, and the snow began in Boston that day. In the evening, the heavy snow ended in New York City, and it ended in Boston on the morning of February 18. After that, the storm weakened and brought a few inches of snow to other parts of New England.
This snowstorm slowed down much of the East Coast with its heavy snow. Washington's Reagan National Airport, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport in New York were closed, and Dulles Airport had one runway open. With snow falling, driving was almost impossible. In Baltimore, the roof of the historic B&O Railroad Museum broke, destroying many valuable engines, railroad cars and train souvenirs.