The National Weather Service is tracking a powerful winter storm that has already brought heavy snowfall to the Chicago area, along with the Upper Midwest. Known as an "Alberta Clipper," this type of storm originates in Canada and moves very quickly, often blanketing the Midwest with snow.
Dubbed winter storm "Saturn" by the Weather Channel, and "Snowquester" by the Washington Post, the storm is expected to head eastward, reaching the Mid-Atlantic region by late Tuesday.
Accuweather predicts possible power outages extending from southern Virginia toward southeastern Pennsylvania.. Nearly 15 inches of snow have already accumulated in some parts of the Midwest, and four to eight inches are expected in the Mid-Atlantic. According to the Capital Weather Gang blog, some thundersnow may occur as well.
The "Snowquester" storm comes less than a week after the federal government's budget sequestration took effect. According to the Washington Post, the National Weather Service's forecasting staff and programming will probably suffer as a result of the sequester budget cuts. Kevin Kelly, a lobbyist whose firm advocates for the National Weather Service, said that “sequestration substantially increases the risk that the United States will not be a weather-ready nation” and the weather department "will not be operating at 100 percent.”