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Winter weather may be easing

Snow. That describes the winter of '94 in a nutshell.

At least a dozen major storms have hit the East since Jan. 4, dumping snow without giving people the chance to clear the previous snowfall.

It hasn't stopped, either, although spring is just weeks away. The latest storm, a "classic nor'easter," swooped up the East Coast this week, dropping 2 more feet of snow and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of residents.

When will it all end?

Forecasters expect temporary relief, although they warn that, historically, many New England states suffer their worst snows in March and April.

"There are no big storms on the horizon for the next week or so," said Fred Gadomski, a meteorologist at Penn State University. He would not hazard a guess beyond that.

By almost any measure, this winter has been one of the East's most severe.

Many cities, such as Allentown, Pa., have set records for seasonal snowfall. Boston is an inch shy of its record, and Pittsburgh and New York are about 10-15 inches short _ or one more good snowfall.

Areas that have been spared heavy snow, like Philadelphia, have been plagued by other elements, like ice.

Below-normal temperatures have exacerbated problems. On those rare occasions when the cold relented, the temperatures warmed too quickly and caused extensive flooding in states such as West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

It feels more severe, too, because the bulk of rotten weather has been compressed into 52 days and it follows four or five years of mild winters.

It's like Sisyphus pushing a snowball uphill. No sooner do residents climb out of one storm than another knocks them back down the mountain.

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