WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Snow began falling in Washington late Friday, kicking off what was expected to be the worst December storm in years in the capital.
Close to half a foot had already fallen in areas to the south and west, The Washington Post reported. The National Weather Service predicted the heaviest snow in the city would come during the day Saturday with a total of 1 to 2 feet.
Meteorologists predicted the worst winter storm in six years and worst in December in 70 years.
Earlier Friday, the storm brought inches of rain to Florida and snow to the mountains of North Carolina as it headed north. Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia declared a state of emergency, while the National Weather Service posted blizzard watches for Long Island and southeastern Massachusetts.
Snow began in the Mid-Atlantic region late Friday, and coastal areas were expected to be hit hard, CNN reported. The National Weather Service predicted 6 to 8 inches in New York and up to a foot on eastern Long Island and in southern New Jersey.
In Asheville, N.C., some areas had almost half a foot by 2 p.m. Friday. Police reported an epidemic of car crashes, WBTV, Charlotte, reported.
Heavy rain, wind and surf pummeled the Atlantic coast of Florida, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. More than a foot of rain fell in some parts of southern Broward County, and 20 people were evacuated from houses in Hallandale Beach because of flooding.
Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty declared a snow emergency effective at 7 a.m. Saturday morning and ordered the closing of local government offices through the weekend, the Post said.
In New England, the weather service predicted snow would begin Saturday afternoon in southeastern Massachusetts and about 9 p.m. in Boston, The Boston Globe reported. The city was expected to get 6-8 inches with 20 inches on Cape Cod.