PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The latest storm to roll off nature's assembly line during this bustling winter spread heavy snow and sleet along the Northeast corridor Thursday, while utility crews in the ice-encrusted South labored to restore power to hundreds of thousands of shivering residents.
The storm shuttered schools and businesses, made driving scary, grounded thousands of flights and made more back-breaking work for people along the East Coast, where shoveling out has become a weekly chore - sometimes a twice-weekly one.
"Snow has become a four-letter word in Delaware County and all along the East Coast this winter," said Tom McGarrigle, chairman of the Delaware County Council, in suburban Philadelphia.
Baltimore awoke to 15 inches of snow. Washington, D.C., had at least 11, and federal offices and the city's two main airports were closed.
Philadelphia had nearly 9 inches by early morning, making it the fourth 6-inch snowstorm of the season - the first time that has happened in the city's history. Harrisburg, Pa., had at least 8 inches.
At least 14 deaths, most of them in traffic accidents, were blamed on the storm as it made its way across the South and up the coast. The victims included a truck driver in Ashburn, Va., who was working to clear snowy roads. He had pulled off the road and was standing behind his vehicle when he was hit by a dump truck.
Across the South, the storm left in its wake a world of ice-encrusted trees and driveways and snapped branches and power lines.
More than 200,000 homes and businesses in the Atlanta area alone were waiting for the electricity to come back on. Temperatures were expected to drop below freezing again overnight.
In North Carolina, where the storm caused huge traffic jams in the Raleigh area on Wednesday as people left work and rushed to get home in the middle of the day, National Guardsmen in high-riding Humvees patrolled the snowy roads, looking for stranded motorists.
State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said there was no way to estimate how many were stuck in their vehicles.
Some roads around Raleigh remained clogged with abandoned vehicles Thursday morning. City crews were working to tow the vehicles to safe areas where their owners could recover them.
The procession of storms and cold blasts - blamed in part on a kink in the jet stream, the high-altitude air currents that dictate weather - has cut into retail sales across the U.S., the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Sales dipped 0.4 percent in January.
Many cities are seeing their supplies of road salt dwindling fast, and school systems have run out of school days.
In New Cumberland, Pa., Randal DeIvernois had to take a rest after shoveling his driveway. His snowblower had conked out.
"Every time it snows it's like, oh, not again," he said. "I didn't get this much snow when I lived in Colorado. It's warmer at the Olympics than it is here. That's ridiculous."
The sloppy and dangerous weather threatened to disrupt deliveries of Valentine's Day flowers.
"It's a godawful thing," said Mike Flood, owner of Falls Church Florist in Virginia. "We're going to lose money, there's no doubt about it."
Battered, beleaguered: Storm socks East Coast
Snow, sleet and freezing rain are falling on the East Coast - from North Carolina to New England - a day after bombarding the Southeast. Here's a sampling of what the latest round of winter weather is bringing:
DIRE FORECAST: A National Weather Service map of the storm showed possible effects hitting 20 states from Alabama to Maine. Winter storm warnings were issued for much of the Eastern Seaboard, including Georgia, where an ice storm warning remained in place. Baltimore awoke to 15 inches of snow, while 11 inches accumulated in parts of Washington, with more falling. The Philadelphia area could get 6 to 12 inches, up to 14 inches was possible in northwest New Jersey, and New York City and its suburbs could get 8 to 12 inches. Up to 18 inches of snow was forecast for central and western Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine, could see 8 or 9 inches. The National Weather Service had called the storm "catastrophic ... crippling ... paralyzing ... choose your adjective" for the South, including Atlanta, where a storm two weeks ago created huge traffic jams.
IN THE DARK: More than 800,000 homes and businesses lacked power in several Southeastern states on Thursday morning. Power companies in the Northeast were preparing for outages.
TREACHEROUS TRAVEL: More than 5,200 flights were canceled across the country, according to the website FlightAware. Amtrak canceled some of its trains and modified schedules for others. Acela Express trains between Washington and Boston, Northeast Regional trains between Boston and Norfolk, Va., Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pa., and Empire Service between New York and Albany, N.Y., are operating at reduced frequency or modified schedules. Amtrak has canceled Auto Train, Crescent, Carolinian, Palmetto and Piedmont trains. The Silver Meteor is canceled from New York to Miami and the Silver Star will operate south from Jacksonville, Fla.
At least 14 deaths across the South have been blamed on the weather, including three killed after an ambulance careened off a slick Texas highway and caught fire and a firefighter killed when he was knocked off an interstate ramp in Dallas. In the Northeast, municipalities imposed parking and travel restrictions so roadways and streets would be clear for plowing. Speed limits have been lowered on some highways.
POTHOLE PLETHORA: A relentless cycle of snow and bitter cold is testing the nation's infrastructure. New York City crews filled 69,000 potholes in the first five weeks of the year - nearly twice as many as the same period in 2013. In Iowa, a Des Moines official said the city has never endured so many broken water mains.
WINTER CANCELS WINTER: A celebration of winter tourism in the Olympic village of Lake Placid, N.Y., has been postponed because of storm forecasts. Plans had called for visitors take part in skiing, bobsledding and other winter sports at the sites that hosted the 1980 and 1932 Winter Olympics. A new date has not been chosen.
UPSIDE-DOWN WEATHER: While Northeast residents suffered through bitter cold yet again, the temperatures soared to 63 degrees at the Winter Games in Sochi, providing Olympic visitors with opportunities for outdoor napping, sunbathing and even a dip in the Black Sea.
PROMPTING THE PROFANE: "Snow has become a four-letter word ... all along the East Coast this winter," said Tom McGarrigle, chairman of the Delaware County Council in suburban Philadelphia.
Associated Press writers Sarah Brumfield in Washington; Matthew Barakat in Falls Church, Va.; and David Dishneau in Frederick, Md.; contributed to this report.
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