A winter snowstorm being described as potentially "historic" for parts of the South is expected to drop up 10 inches of snow on the D.C. area, beginning late Wednesday, forecasters say.
"The precipitation should start tomorrow between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.," National Weather Service meteorologist Ken Wildelski said Tuesday. "It will start out all as snow and could get heavy at times."
The District can expect up to 4 inches of snow Wednesday, but the final total depends on whether the snow continues or turns into sleet or rain early Thursday, Mr. Wildelski said.
The weather service warned that heavy, wet snow and strong winds could produce power outages.
But the forecasts for the D.C. area are not as severe as what's being called for in other areas of the country. The South is bracing for a particularly hard hit from the storm.
Forecasts in Atlanta that called for sleet and freezing rain overnight drew comparisons to an ice storm in 2000 that left more than 500,000 homes and businesses without power and to an epic storm in 1973 that caused an estimated 200,000 outages for several days. In 2000, damage estimates topped $35 million.
Hundreds of Georgia National Guard troops were on standby in case evacuations were needed at hospitals or nursing homes, and more than 70 shelters were set to open.
Parts of northeast Mississippi could see up to 4 inches of snow. South Carolina, which hasn't seen a major ice storm in nearly a decade, could get one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch of ice and as much as 8 inches of snow in some areas.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley declared states of emergency in advance of the storm.
To avoid a trash pile-up that occurred after the last snowfall, the District's Department of Public Works said Tuesday it will begin collecting trash two hours earlier than its usual 2 a.m. start time in hopes of finishing before heavy snow arrives.
The department also asked people to move their vehicles off the streets on Wednesday.
• This article is based in part on wire-service reports.
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