The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

March 4, 2014

Winter’s grip remains strong on nation

WASHINGTON — 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.

Four to 8 inches of snow were forecast from Baltimore to Washington — lower than earlier predictions but enough to cause headaches for the region.

Russ Watters, 60, of St. Louis was walking through the National Air and Space Museum with his 14-year-old son, Seth, who was touring Washington with his 8th-grade class.

“We’re trying to find stuff that’s open, so this is open. We had to cancel our trip to Arlington Cemetery. That was closed down this morning. We were going to go to Mount Vernon,” Watters said.

Pennsylvania dodged most of the effects of the snowfall to its south as only a few inches fell — and just a trace or even none in some areas.

In New Jersey nearly 6 inches has fallen in some areas, with up to 8 forecast. That could make it the eighth snowiest winter in the last 120 years.

In parts of Delaware 4 to 8 inches are forecast, down from predictions of 10 or more inches. The governor there has lifted a state of emergency and driving warning for northern part of the state but urged motorists to still exercise caution.

Snow covered a thin layer of ice in the nation’s capital Monday, driven by a blustery wind that stung the faces of those who ventured outside. Officials still 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 governors of Virginia \and Tennessee each declared a state of emergency as snow and ice threatened to make a mess of roads.

Virginia State Police troopers responded to more than 300 traffic crashes across the state between 12:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Monday, with about half occurring in the Richmond area.

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 2,600 flights in the United States were canceled as of Monday afternoon, 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 Texas, hundreds of flights were cancelled, officials called for energy conservation measures, and interstates were turned into parking lots extending for miles. North Texas took the brunt of the latest storm but freezing temperatures extended into the central part of the state.  

Parts of eastern Kentucky remained under a winter storm warning until late Monday afternoon, with additional snowfall and temperatures below freezing that could bring the total to 6 inches in some areas.

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. 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.

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