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Snowstorm No. 15 heads for Northeast

Snow and ice turned out the lights and created yet another school holiday Wednesday as a storm crawled up the East Coast, promising the Northeast its morale-sapping 15th blast of the season.

"We're pretty sick of this," said Rhonda Lynch, a legal secretary in Martinsburg, W.Va.

The heaviest snowfalls, which could reach two feet, were headed for the central Appalachian mountain area stretching from Western Virginia through central Pennsylvania.

A Continental Airlines plane aborted a takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport during a snowstorm, slid into a dike and stopped within a few feet of plunging into a bay.

Twenty-nine of the 115 passengers aboard Denver-bound Flight 795 suffered injuries ranging from minor bruises to broken bones, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was too early to tell if the snowstorm was to blame.

The big storm extended along most of the Eastern Seaboard with snow edging into New England at the same time Florida had thunderstorms and high winds. (Story inside section B)

As the storm slowly chugged up the coast, Virginia declared a state of emergency, Maryland was pelted with rain and snow, and New Jersey got a nasty mixture of several inches of snow topped with sleet and rain. Massachusetts' heaviest snowfall wasn't expected until this morning's rush hour.

Here are the details:

Virginia: The state got snow in the north and freezing rain in the south. There were more than 170,100 power outages statewide, and numerous roads in the southern part of the state were blocked by falling trees.

Ten inches of snow fell by late afternoon on Virginia's central Blue Ridge near Charlottesville and Winchester. Interstate 81 was briefly closed south of Winchester because of snow.

Up to 5 inches of snow in northern Virginia's Washington suburbs snarled traffic on Interstates 95 and 66.

Schools were closed in parts of western and northern Virginia.

Maryland: Up to 6 inches of snow had fallen by midday Wednesday in western Maryland. Three-quarters of the state's schoolchildren got the day off.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport had only one runway open in blowing snow in the morning, but most airlines reported only minor delays.

West Virginia: Parts of the state got up to a foot of snow, with 10 inches reported at Martinsburg and Berkeley Springs. About 4,700 Appalachian Power Co. customers lost electrical service near Beckley and Bluefield.

New Jersey: High winds tore down some power lines in New Jersey, causing about 4,500 outages.

Pennsylvania: At Philadelphia International Airport, airlines scrambled to reschedule flights and de-ice planes. USAir canceled nearly half of its flights.

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