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Snow Grounds Thousands of Flights

As people on the East Coast waited for the second snowshoe to drop, airlines canceled thousands of flights and Meals on Wheels in Baltimore scrapped deliveries.

"It's a bad travel day," said Julie King, spokeswoman for Continental Airlines.

A storm that left up to a foot of snow in the Midwest on Tuesday was forecast to batter the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast today with howling winds, 12 to 18 inches of snow and blizzard conditions, said meteorologist Kevin Roth of The Weather Channel.

Continental canceled all 600 or so flights into and out of its Newark hub, all flights into Washington's National and Dulles airports, Baltimore and Philadelphia, and many flights into Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Columbus, Ohio, King said.

US Airways grounded 1,422 of its 3,100 daily flights today, spokeswoman Valerie Wunder said.

Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, which serves 1,700 people two meals a day, made 300 deliveries Tuesday - three days' worth of food to clients "in desperate need," executive director Thomas Grazio said - and planned to make none today.

Some people had a hard time finding food on supermarket shelves that had been shopped clean of the basics.

Nina Thompkins, a financial analyst who lives and works in northeast Washington, said she crossed into Maryland to find a stocked grocery store.

At the Safeway and Giant supermarkets near her home, "even the frozen food sections were empty," Thompkins said. "Milk, butter, all the necessities were gone."

On the West Coast, where the National Weather Service predicted up to 1.5 inches of rain could cause mudslides in areas affected by wildfires last year, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies went door-to-door with evacuation orders for 541 hillside homes, the Associated Press reported.

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