Traffic Slowed, Flights Canceled in Northeast : Snow Shuts Down Schools, Legislatures

From Times Wire Services

Snow fell over much of the Northeast on Thursday, closing schools and two state legislatures, slowing traffic on icy highways and canceling some airline flights. Even horses did not run as two race tracks shut down.

Winter storm warnings were issued for eastern Maryland, Delaware, northern New Jersey and the New York City area. A winter storm watch was posted for southern New Jersey, and travelers' advisories were issued for southern New England, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Two to four inches of snow fell in parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia before dwindling to flurries. About six inches fell in eastern New York.

The New Jersey Legislature canceled Thursday's sessions, and state office workers were sent home early.

Delaware's General Assembly also canceled its session.

Workers plowed snow off the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., which at the turn of the century tried to lure tourists to the resort by advertising that "it never snows on the Boardwalk."

Classes were canceled or delayed at scores of schools in West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

The snow canceled horse races Thursday at Waterford Park at Chester, W.Va., and at New York's Aqueduct, and halted dog races at West Virginia's Wheeling Downs.

Eastern Airlines' morning shuttle flights from New York City to Washington and Boston were canceled, airline spokesman Joe Scott said. There were other scattered cancellations.

Port Authority spokesman Joseph Lanciotti reported half-hour delays at New York's LaGuardia Airport, and the main runway at the Newark, N.J., airport was closed for an hour for plowing.

Snow-related accidents, including a chain-reaction collision involving three tractor-trailer rigs and two buses, closed the westbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in western Pennsylvania for two hours. Three persons died in two weather-related traffic accidents in Virginia.

New Jersey officials reduced the speed limit to 45 m.p.h. and then to 35 m.p.h. on the state's turnpike early Thursday.

"The roadway is snow-covered and icy," Trooper Jay Garcia said. "It is somewhat hazardous."

The snow resulted from two storms, one that formed near West Virginia and moved up the coast, and a second that was moving eastward from Michigan, the National Weather Service said.

The snow fell after a day of extreme cold that sent the homeless crowding into shelters throughout the region.

New York state, much of which endured below-zero temperatures Wednesday, reported the coldest temperatures in the lower 48 states Thursday for the second consecutive day, the National Weather Service said.

Massena, on the St. Lawrence River, reported a temperature of 14 degrees below zero Thursday. On Wednesday, Watertown, N.Y., was the coldest point, with 21 below.

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