This storm is threatening to dump more snow than D.C. has seen in two years, CBS News' Nancy Cordes reported on "CBS This Morning."
Hundreds of transportation crews were out treating and plowing highways in New England, where up to 4 inches of snow was expected. State police in Connecticut said there had been 83 crashes by late morning, with eight minor injuries.
The snow has been slowing drivers throughout the Tri-State area.
"It's fairly icy out there," driver Billy Gialella told CBS New York. "It's very bad."
"You have to respect the weather because the weather is going to win," said cab driver Richard Groen. "But I'm a veteran New Yorker - born here, raised here, lived here. I've made snowmen on Broadway in the middle of the day."
Public schools were closed in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and parts of Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Some schools in Connecticut were closed, while a few districts in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts planned early dismissals or canceled afternoon activities.
Flight delays were reported in Philadelphia, Newark and New York.
SEE ALSO: Snow, ice cancel more than 1,650 flights
The final tally on Monday's cancelled flights is 1,927, according to FlightAware data. There have been 1,076 flights cancelled so far on Tuesday. So far, Newark Liberty International Airport is edging out Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for the most cancelled flights.
In Washington, snow was falling at daybreak, but traffic problems failed to materialize as many workers stayed home. Non-emergency federal employees were granted an excused absence and others were told to telecommute, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
The snow was expected to end before the evening commute in Philadelphia, which was socked by a surprise 8-inch snowfall on Sunday. While much of that snow had melted during a rainstorm Monday, the city was expecting 3 to 6 inches more Tuesday.
New York City, which was forecast to get 3 to 5 inches, suspended some parking rules to facilitate snow removal.
In Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, meteorologists predicted the snow would taper off around the time commuters headed home for the day, but roads and sidewalks were expected to remain slick.
In Ohio, overnight snowfall in central and southwest parts of the state made the morning commute slow and messy.
Outside Washington, traffic was light Tuesday morning. With temperatures hovering around freezing, highways that had been plowed and treated were passable, but conditions began to deteriorate after 8 a.m. as the pace of the snowfall increased.
The usually bustling Springfield Metro station was nearly deserted. Those who did have to work said the lack of traffic made the slushy roads easier to navigate.
"I wish it was like this all the time - minus the snow," said Maelin Traylor, 28, of Springfield. "The traffic was wonderful."
Jean Walsh, 72, of Springfield, said she was accustomed to much worse weather growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., and never considered skipping work.
"To me, this is nothing. It's melting when it's hitting. I don't think they should have closed the government," Walsh said. "It's no big deal and I've got work to do."
Rick Hemphill, a retired deputy court clerk, had a busy Tuesday morning ferrying family members to and from their jobs in rural Washington County, Md., through several inches of fresh snow. He said he grew up driving in snow in mountainous western Maryland.
"Snow is snow," Hemphill said as he refueled his four-wheel-drive vehicle near his Hagerstown-area home. "The closer you get to the city, it gets worse because they get it less often."
Some Washington workers still had to pop up umbrellas and bundle up to head to work. Harris Sidiq, an accountant, was walking to work Tuesday morning.
"I worked for another accounting firm, and it took a lot for us to actually have a shutdown due to inclement weather," he said. "I guess it's just the industry. That's how it is. You work, work, work until the world stops. Then you might be able to stay home."
Forecasters said more wintry weather could be on the way for the region this weekend.