Washington Metro nearly deserted following st
Washington Metro nearly deserted following stReuters

A massive winter storm is, once again, hitting the northern United States, grounding 2,600 flights, closing hundreds of schools and leaving roadways and highways impassible.

At least four people were reportedly killed in accidents on icy and snow covered roads and highways, AFP reported.

More than a dozen states from Minnesota to Virginia were in the path of the huge storm, which had already dumped as much as two feet (60 centimeters) of snow in Montana and 15 inches (38 centimeters) in North Dakota.

The Chicago area was expected to get as much as an inch (2.5 centimeters) of snow an hour during the evening rush, the National Weather Service reported.

"Consider only traveling if in an emergency," the weather service warned.

Nearly 900 flights were grounded at Chicago's O'Hare airport, while another 260 were cancelled at Chicago Midway on Tuesday. Over 100 flights were cancelled in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which helped push the day's total to 1,465, according to FlightAware.

Another 1,162 flights scheduled for Wednesday had already been cancelled, mainly in the Washington area.

"We think the system will develop into a more powerful storm as it passes into the mid Atlantic states," Dan Petersen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told AFP.

"This could be a heavy, wet snow, so there could be tree branches and power lines brought down."

A local news channel in Wisconsin reported a truck driver was killed, while his passenger is still missing.

Two people were also reportedly killed in rural Illinois and another in rural Indiana in crashes, an Indiana newspaper reported.

In February, several powerful tornadoes ripped through Mississippi and Alabama late Sunday, injuring at least 12 people and damaging hundreds of homes and businesses.

The storms come only months after Hurricane Sandy devastated New York and New Jersey, killing 132 people and causing damage worth some $71.4 billion.