Winter’s last gasp? Another storm hits much of US

Mar 3, 2014, 3:47 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) – 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.”

School systems 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. I had to stop the car. I can’t be late, though,” Auiler said.

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

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

Bundled up in coat, hat, scarf and boots, 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 was 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. 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 was also 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.

___

Associated Press writers Matthew Barakat in Falls Church, Va.; David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Md.; Rebecca Yonker in Louisville, Ky.; and Steve McMillan in Richmond, Va., contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Winter’s last gasp? Another storm hits much of US