December 15, 2013

Another helping of snow for Northeast

The storm is packing a powerful punch from the Midwest to New England, causing flight cancellations and challenging travel conditions.

By Mark Scolforo
The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. – At this rate, the Northeast will be tired of winter before winter even arrives.

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A person wearing an Elmo outfit holds an umbrella for a woman as she searches for money to give to the character after posing for a photo together at Times Square, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, in New York. Manhattan is experiencing heavy snow with reports saying the weather will continue to cover the city with snow throughout the night.

The Associated Press

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Another shot of wintry weather moved through Ohio and Pennsylvania on Saturday as it headed into New England, hampering travel by car and airplane and complicating shoppers’ plans less than two weeks before Christmas.

Nearly a foot of snow was reported in parts of central Pennsylvania late Saturday as the sprawling storm moved into New England, where the National Weather Service warned Maine could see near-blizzard conditions Sunday due to heavy snow and strong winds before the storm moves out.

Six to 12 inches of snow was expected in parts of Massachusetts, followed by sleet and freezing rain after daybreak. Four to 8 inches was possible in Boston.

Multiple accidents were reported on roadways throughout the Midwest and Northeast, while airports reported about 1,000 flight cancelations because of Saturday’s snow – a third round of wintry weather in a seven-day span, with a week still to go before winter’s official arrival.

Double-digit snow totals were reported Saturday in parts of northern Pennsylvania and southern New York, while New York City’s Central Park got 5 inches. Parts of Connecticut got more than half a foot.

Six days after another storm had buried Lincoln Financial Field under several inches of snow for a Philadelphia Eagles game, the Army-Navy game was played Saturday on the same field – although in less snowy conditions.

Accountant Kathy Porter shivered under layers of clothing in the stands, trying to keep warm amid low temperatures she doesn’t get much of back home in Charlotte, N.C.

But snow was preferable to rain, Porter said. She was “a little frozen but OK,” she said.

Snow was also welcome news at resorts and ski towns in Northern New England.

“We have been watching (the forecast) since people first started talking about it on Monday or Tuesday,” said Ethan Austin, spokesman for the Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. “We’re pretty psyched.”

The snow-dampened shopping weekend in mid-December was not such good news for retailers.

Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, said consumers would likely take their shopping online. She said the weekend before Christmas will give retailers and shoppers another bite at the apple.

“If a big storm hits around the 21st, 22nd, it will be a completely different story,” Grannis said.

The weather contributed to four deadly crashes on Missouri roads on Friday and Saturday and drivers in states throughout the path of the storm were warned of slick road conditions from snow and ice.

Snow fell at up to 2 inches per hour in northern Pennsylvania late in the afternoon, while the storm seemed to be skipping other areas entirely.

National Weather Service meteorologist Elyse Colbert said snow had reached more than 3 inches in State College by dinnertime Saturday and provided a lovely winter scene.

“Unless you have to drive in it,” she said.

Associated Press writer Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington, D.C., and Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, Vt., contributed to this report.

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