Winter's final encore? More snow for parts of US

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by Brett Zongker, Associated Press

Video report by Sandy Kozel, Associated Press

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 17 at 12:40 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- With a harsh winter that closed the federal government, schools and offices for several days this year, Washington and other cities seemed to be getting used to digging out of the snow and cold as yet another storm blew into Mid-Atlantic and parts of the eastern U.S. on Monday.

With spring days away, the commute on Washington's Metro transit system was light. Sidewalks were cleared faster than in past storms. More homeowners and businesses gave up on snow shovels in favor of snow blowers. Airports saw some cancellations, but runways were reopening by midmorning.

With the temperature rising, the latest snow was poised to turn into a slushy mess faster as well.

At least a few inches of snow were reported in the Washington area and parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For Philadelphia, the 4.5 inches of snow that fell as of 8 a.m. made this winter the second-snowiest on record. The National Weather Service said 67.4 inches had fallen so far for the 2013-14 season.

Snowfall at Dulles airport in Sterling, Va., totaled 10 inches at 10 a.m., the agency said. Accumulations in the region reached as high as 11 inches in the Montgomery County, Md., community of Hillandale, about 10 miles north of Washington.

Some people still had to make it to work on time, though.

With her bank set to open on time, Joanne Swift of Suitland, Md., took a bus to the Metro to get to work downtown. As she made her way across a slick sidewalk, she declared what was on the mind of many this winter: "I am tired of the weather!"

"I really thought we had already made that turn into spring," she said. "But it's not piled high, so I guess this is reasonably OK."

In central Virginia, state police said at least four people were being treated for serious injuries after a weather-related wreck. The commercial passenger bus - carrying 58 passengers from New York to Doraville, Ga. - overturned about 4 a.m. on Interstate 95 in Stafford County. The driver, Qilong Xioa, 50, of Flushing, N.Y., was charged with reckless driving, police said.

In Falls Church, Va., Mike Miller spun out twice on the highway about 3 a.m. in what turned out to be a one-hour drive to open up a Sunoco gas station. But no one was hurt, and Miller remained in good spirits.

"It's still technically winter until the 20th," he said, referring to the first day of spring. "There are places where it snows year round. Just deal with it."

Stephen Moore, 46, who works for the State Department, had pulled out his cross-country skis and was taking the Metro down to the National Mall, where he hoped there'd be enough snow to put them to use.

"I'm assuming this is the last snow of the year," Moore said.

In New Jersey, as much as 7.5 inches of snow was reported, and classes were delayed or canceled at schools across the state's southern half.

Winter's return follows several days of spring-like temperatures. Richard Windsor of Jackson, N.J., said he was not that impressed by the new system. Previous storms this season dropped 10 or more inches of snow in the state.

"I figure if I made it through the stronger storms, I can handle this," Windsor said

Forecasters cannot say whether this year's winter weather will finally end with the official start of spring Thursday. They note that snowstorms are typical through March.

Along the slushy cobblestone streets of Richmond's Shockoe Slip, Tara Rowan, 27, took a break from work at a digital marketing company to walk her 1-year-old Maltipoo, Juno, wearing a red-and-white reindeer sweater.

"I love winter, so I think I'm probably the weird one. I think it's beautiful," Rowan said. "But I understand the travel ... is a heartache for some people."

But she admitted that she longed for warmer weather, especially after temperatures over the weekend hit the 70s.

"You start to switch over your closet, and then you've got to pull the boots back out," she said. "Tease is a perfect word for it. "

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Winter storm that hit the DC area by the numbers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Here's a look by the numbers at the storm that has dumped snow on the Mid-Atlantic region, causing few major problems but dealing one more blow to residents tired of winter and ready for springtime.

SNOW DAYS: Federal government offices have shut down four times because of snow since Jan. 1, according to the federal Office of Personnel Management. The last time the federal government saw that many snow days was February 2010, when federal offices closed for four straight days during the storm known as "Snowmageddon."

FEDERAL WORKERS: The Office of Personnel Management sets leave policies for about 300,000 federal government workers. Many of those workers can work from home and telecommute - officials have said in previous years that about a third do so. Others considered "emergency" personnel still must report to work.

The effects of a federal government shutdown in Washington are generally negligible. Work that needs to get done can be done via telecommuting. Plus, a vast majority of federal employees work in offices across the country that remain open for business.

HOW MUCH SNOW? As much as 8 inches fell in Washington, D.C. Some of the highest totals were recorded at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia, which saw 10 inches, and in Montgomery County, Md., a Washington suburb, where 11 inches fell.

Meanwhile, more snow in Philadelphia made this the second-snowiest winter on record for the city. The total for the entire 2013-2014 season is at 67.4 inches so far.

FLIGHTS: The snow has not had much of an impact on air travel compared with some previous storms. Only about two dozen flights in the Washington region had been cancelled as of mid-day.

MUSEUMS: Only three of the Smithsonian's 19 museums are open to visitors. Among those closed is the National Zoo.

POWER OUTAGES: Unlike many previous storms, this snowstorm caused few, if any, power outages. As of mid-afternoon, less than 100 power outages were reported in Maryland, Washington and northern Virginia.

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Associated Press writers Matthew Barakat in Falls Church, Va.; Jessica Gresko in Arlington, Va.; Michael Felberbaum and Steve Szkotak in Richmond, Va.; and Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this report.

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

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