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updated 1/1/2012 12:34:18 PM ET 2012-01-01T17:34:18

Winter storm warnings were issued for several states near the Great Lakes and an area west of Washington D.C. by the National Weather Service early Sunday.

It issued its "first major winter storm" warning of 2012 at 3:51 a.m. ET Sunday for parts of Michigan, saying snow, sleet and rain along with strong winds were expected Sunday.

The NWS later issued other storm warnings for parts of Pennsylvannia, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin near the Great Lakes.

The Michigan warning was due to begin at noon Sunday and last until 7 p.m. ET Monday.

"In addition to the snowfall, wind gusts over 35 mph will be common through Monday, resulting in considerable blowing and drifting snow and blizzard conditions at times, especially downwind of Lake Michigan," the NWS said in the warning notice.

Near zero visibility
It said poor driving conditions were expected as "visibilities will drop to near zero at times within heavier snow showers."

The snow and winds would likely "make travel very hazardous or impossible," the notice added.

The NWS also warned that 8 to 14 inches of snow, "with locally higher amounts," could hit an area covering parts of Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia, including the cities of Frostburg, Hightown, Bayard, Mount Storm, Elk Garden and Circleville.

The winter storm warning was due to come into effect from 1 a.m. ET Monday and last until 5 p.m. ET Tuesday, the NWS said.

Southern states will not escape the cold snap. Forecasters predict highs in the 50s as far south as Tampa and Orlando in central Florida on Tuesday.

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