The calendar says spring but the forecast looked like winter as a major storm this Palm Sunday weekend was forecast to bring heavy snow, flooding rain and severe thunderstorms as it moved east across the United States.
Snow had already started falling in eastern Colorado and parts of Kansas early on Saturday, according to AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Tom Kines.
Interstate-70 was closed from east of Denver to the Kansas state line because of blowing and drifting snow, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Snow delayed arriving flights at Denver International Airport, said spokesman Heath Montgomery.
The snow was expected to move east to Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio, over the next 24 hours, before moving into the mid-Atlantic states, he said.
The snow could measure from three to six inches in the Midwest, but accumulations in the Baltimore-Washington area could be much less due to higher temperatures, Kines said.
A potential for "tremendous rainfall" could hit areas south of the snow line, according to AccuWeather.com.
Rough weather is expected in the Gulf Coast region from Florida to eastern Texas through Saturday, with large hail, damaging winds and possible tornadoes, Kines said. The system was already affecting the Tallahassee region of Florida on Saturday morning.
"All in all, this is a pretty nasty storm," Kines said.
Forecasters expect severe weather in the Gulf Coast region during this time of year, he said, but the swath of heavy snow across the country's mid-section in late March is unusual.
An Ohio prosecutor fed up with the continued cold and snow issued a mock indictment this week for fraud against Punxsutawney Phil, the famed prognosticating Pennsylvania groundhog, who had forecast an early spring.