Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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. "
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.