Federal offices in D.C. were shut down as a "sloppy winter storm" migrated from the Midwest, aiming to throw down four to six inches of snow onto the capital today.

Snow began to fall at midnight and 4,000 salt trucks and plows from Virginia slogged through the streets. Just west of the nation's capital, up to 20 inches could accumulate. Most school districts were closed, and CBS reported that the the House of Representatives moved up this week's votes to Wednesday morning, to allow members to abandon ship and get out of town by the afternoon. Nearly 5,000 Virginia residents lost power after the snow fall started. According to an NBC anchor, the city of D.C. is the dividing line between snow and rain (yes, D.C. divides even the weather).

The storm originated in Montana, moving east over Ohio, leaving a foot of snow in parts of Illinois, Minnesota and North Dakota. 1,100 flights were canceled in Chicago. The winter weather was the cause of at least 200 car crashes in Montana on Tuesday. New York should also receive a wintry mix, with a messy amalgamation of rain and possibly two inches of snow accumulation in New York City.

But, you know, this stuff is difficult to predict—lots of variables.

[NBC, image via Getty]