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Winter's last gasp? East braces for another storm

WASHINGTON — School is canceled, buses are halted and federal government workers are staying home as a storm dumped snow on the nation's capital and parts of the East Coast.

Forecasters have lowered snow predictions across the region from Baltimore to Washington. The forecast calls for 4 to 8 inches of accumulation in the area with snow expected to taper off in the afternoon.

In New Jersey nearly 6 inches has fallen in some areas, with up to 8 forecast.

Still, residents say they're sick of the harsh winter. Betty Wolfe of Hagerstown, Md., says she will forgo her daily trek to visit her husband in a nursing home nearly a mile away because she's already fallen twice this winter.

Winter kept its icy hold on much of the country Monday, with snow falling and temperatures dropping as schools and offices closed and people from the South and Mid-Atlantic to Northeast reluctantly waited out another storm indoors.

Snow began covering a thin layer of ice in the nation's capital early Monday, driven by a blustery wind that stung the faces of those who ventured outside. Officials warned people to stay off treacherous, icy roads – a refrain that has become familiar to residents in the Midwest, East and even Deep South this year.

The latest frigid blow of the harsh winter threatened 6 to 10 inches of snow by the end of the day in Washington, 4 to 8 inches in Baltimore and 6 to 8 inches in parts of Delaware. In Philadelphia, a dusting fell early in the day, while up to 8 inches were expected in parts of New Jersey. The governors of Virginia and Tennessee each declared a state of emergency as snow and ice threatened to make a mess of roads.

Schools were canceled, bus service was halted in places and federal government workers in the Washington area were told to stay home Monday.

"We're tired of it. We're sick of it," said Martin Peace, a web developer from the Washington suburb of Arlington, Va.

He and his wife were walking on the National Mall with their young daughter Sunday before the frigid weather blew in. Both bemoaned the number of snowy days this year.

"It's been hard with a baby being stuck in the house," said Nicole Peace, who works in human resources. "We don't really get the day off, but then we have to work from home with the baby, which is hard."

Schools in Baltimore, Washington and many suburban areas were closed, as were all Smithsonian museums except for the National Air and Space Museum. The U.S. Supreme Court was expected to be open and had arguments scheduled for Monday.

In northern Virginia, the Jukebox Diner in Manassas opened up at its regular 6 a.m. time, but not a single customer had come in by 8:15, waitress Irene Auiler said.

"I had to drive in to open, and the worst thing was the windshield keep freezing over," Auiler said.

Retired restaurant dishwasher Betty Wolfe, 65, gripped the leash tightly as she walked her dog, Maggie, through ankle-deep snow in downtown Hagerstown, Md.

"She loves the snow. She loves to run in it," Wolfe said.

Wolfe was dressed for winter but not enjoying the frigid wind. She said she would forgo her daily trek to visit her husband in a nursing home nearly a mile away because she's already fallen twice this winter.

More than 2,400 flights in the United States were canceled as of Monday morning, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.com. The bulk of the problems were at airports in Washington, New York and Philadelphia, but "flight cancellations are stacking up all the way from the DC area on up to New England," said Daniel Baker of FlightAware.

In the South, commuters faced icy roads. Near Dallas, traffic on Interstate 45 was at a standstill with vehicles backed up at 15 miles or more. There were reports of some motorists being stuck since Sunday night.

In central Kentucky, vehicles moved slowly and quietly on roads that were mostly snow covered and slushy despite plows going through. The lines separating lanes were mostly invisible under the snow and ice, and at least a few cars had slid off the roadways.

On the Eastern Shore of Virginia, NASA's Wallops Flight Facility closed for the day. The southern parts of the state could see 2 inches to 4 inches of snow, with 8 to 10 inches forecast in in northern Virginia. State police there responded to 47 traffic crashes in what would normally be the Monday morning rush hour, but said most were minor. Richmond was expected to get as many as 7 inches of snow.

Parts of West Virginia could get up to 10 inches of snow. That sent residents on a hunt for food, water and supplies as state offices closed.

"I'm sick of the snow," David Mines of Charleston said as he stopped at a convenience store. "I've been in this state for 14 years, and I think this is the worst winter we've had."

Roads outside Charleston were a bit dicey, said Janie Pierce of St. Albans, W.Va., who stopped at a McDonalds for coffee. But she was not too concerned about the weather.

"We're West Virginians. It's going to take more than this to keep us at home," she said.

Winter's last gasp? East braces for another storm 03/03/14 [Last modified: Monday, March 3, 2014 12:50pm]
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