Frosty swath brings snow from North Dakota to D.C.

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(CNN) — If you grab a sled in North Dakota Tuesday, you might be able to ride it through the upper Midwest all the way to the nation’s capital. But it would be wiser to avoid road travel for a day or two.

A corridor of winter weather is paving its way across the Ohio Valley, dumping heavy show from Minneapolis and Chicago all the way to the District of Columbia and Baltimore, according to a National Weather Service bulletin Monday.

Blowing snow impaired motorists’ visibility in North Dakota Monday, as plows cleared roads and tow trucks retrieved stranded vehicles. There were no serious injuries in accidents, police said.

The storm sweeps over Chicago Tuesday and is expected to leave 5 to 11 inches of snow, according to the CNN Weather Center. Local hardware stores have put snow blowers, shovels and bags of salt on prominent display.

The winter system will reach the nation’s capital Wednesday, bringing either rain or snow to the area before rolling off shore.

One weather model predicts that the snow won’t make it that far, said CNN Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera. Another says Washington, Philadelphia and Boston could see a foot of snow.

The D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, is prepared to deploy 4,000 trucks and snow plows, CNN’s Weather Center said.

The interstate highway connecting the capital with Philadelphia could see heavy snow, the weather service warned.

On Monday, snow was blamed for a 30-car accident on a Colorado highway. The weather service predicts that the same system will add itself to the winter weather in upper Midwest, boosting snowfall there, as the storm moves southeast.

The NWS has issued winter storm warnings and watches in its path.

Monday’s blizzard conditions in parts of Colorado proved to be a duel edged sword. In the ski resort of Vail, near the multi-car pile-up on Interstate 70, skiers should be able to enjoy replenished slopes under sunny skies Tuesday.

Parts of Kansas were paralyzed in February under a blanket of snow, but it brought needed moisture to drought regions in the nation’s bread basket.

CNN’s Carma Hassan and Greg Botelho contributed to this story