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Mother Nature's Winter Surprise

Although the "Storm of 1999" is basically over Wednesday, parts of the East and the Midwest won't soon forget it.

In Washington, D.C., the streets are slush-covered around Capitol Hill, but there was quite a different picture Tuesday, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr.

Area weather forecasters had said to expect only a light snow, in some cases just a dusting.

But the snow started earlier than the meteorologists predicted. It continued all day long and into the evening. By the time the snow quit late Tuesday, 6 to 12 inches of snow had fallen around the D.C. area.

The amount of snow that fell was twice the combined total for the past two years.

Government workers were sent home early Tuesday. On Capitol Hill, the Senate closed up shop, and the House canceled roll-call votes.

"The weather isn't a perfectly predictable thing," said Meteorologist Doug Hill of CBS affiliate WUSA-TV in Washington. "You can't predict every single storm every single time the right way."

This monster storm was born in the Midwest. It covered a 1,000-mile swath from the Great Lakes to the Eastern Seaboard.

The deepest reported snow was 14 inches in Minnesota, making it that state's biggest snowfall of this winter's season.

The storm is even more memorable for one Minnesota couple, whose second child was born during the heavy snow, reports Frederica Freyberg of CBS Station WCCO.

Police helped plow the snow in the street so an ambulance could rush the couple to the hospital in time for the birth of their child.

Meanwhile, hundreds of flights were canceled around the country. More than 600 planes were held up at Chicago's busy O'Hare airport Tuesday because of nearly 10 inches of snow in the area.

Flights are delayed again Wednesday, but they will tend to get back to normal over time.

The warmer southern part of the storm caused the most damage, particularly in the form of tornadoes and thunderstorms, reports CBS This Morning Meteorologist Craig Allen.

The storm brought down trees in Memphis and ripped the roof off a house in Oklahoma.

Countless schools were closed. Accidents and nervous drivers clogged highways, and air travel snafus were the norm.