Nicknamed "Snowquester" - combining snow with the $85 billion across the board spending cuts called sequester that kicked in Friday -- by punsters, the 'Saturn' storm was expected to dump 4 to 8 inches of snow on the capital region, according to the National Weather Service.
Chicago's O'Hare International Airport had 6 inches of snow by Tuesday afternoon, besting a 1999 record for the date by 2.2 inches.
It was the first 6-inch snowfall in the Windy City since the Feb 1-2, 2011blizzard, the National Weather Service said.
United Airlines said about 650 flights systemwide for Wednesday were cancelled, most to and from Dulles International Airport near Washington, according to CNN.
US Airways reported 350 cancellations for Wednesday, and American Airlines called off 20 flights, down from 360 on Tuesday.
The storm deposited heavy snow on portions of the Ohio Valley and upper Midwest on Tuesday, according to CNN.
By midafternoon Tuesday, Lake City, Minnesota, had been blanketed with 11.5 inches of snow since Sunday morning. New Hampton, Iowa, had 8.6 inches and the level stood at 15 inches in Langdon, North Dakota.
The storm will intensify in the mid-Atlantic and parts of the Northeast on Wednesday, said CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen, with a rain-snow line from Washington to Boston.
West of the line will see significant snowfall, particularly in the higher elevations of Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia.
Severe weather hit Gordon County, Georgia, on Tuesday afternoon, more than a month after a fierce system caused widespread damage in the area. Officials reported downed power lines, trees and damage to homes, CNN said.