Snowstorm strands drivers in Kentucky, sends plane skidding in NY; record low temps up next

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Kentucky has been walloped by a winter storm that has dumped nearly two feet of snow in parts of the Bluegrass state. (March 5)


Snow clearing efforts got underway Thursday morning in Philadelphia, which was expected to get several inches of snow by nightfall. (March 5)

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PHILADELPHIA — A late winter storm blanketed the Northeast on Thursday after zipping across much of the South, leaving hundreds of drivers and their passengers stranded on highways in Kentucky and thousands of customers without power in West Virginia.

A strong cold front moving across the eastern U.S. dumped more than 20 inches of snow on parts of Kentucky, and conditions worsened in the Northeast as snow piled up, reaching at least 11.5 inches in the northern Maryland community of Lineboro.

Here's a look at what's happening:

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STUCK ON THE ROAD

Hundreds of drivers were stuck for hours on two major highways in Kentucky, where snow totals topped 2 feet in some places, and many had to spend the night in their vehicles. The National Guard was sent out to check on the people who were stuck, deliver them food and water and, in some cases, take them to warming centers.

By Thursday evening, state highway officials said interstate routes in Kentucky were open again. Snow plows kept up their fast pace as dropping temperatures created the risk of icy highways

Officials said more than 400 vehicles had been stuck along Interstate 24 between the western Kentucky towns of Cadiz and Eddyville. There was a pileup involving 200 tractor-trailers on Interstate 65 near Elizabethtown in central Kentucky.

In western Maryland, a tractor-trailer carrying 93 heads of cattle overturned on Interstate 81, which already was snarled by other accidents in the Hagerstown area.


SLIPPERY RUNWAY

A plane from Atlanta skidded off a runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport while landing Thursday, crashing through a chain-link fence and coming to rest with its nose perilously close to the edge of an icy bay.

The Delta flight fishtailed and veered off the runway at around 11:10 a.m., but no life-threatening injuries were reported.

Passengers trudged through the snow in an orderly line after climbing off the plane.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. said the passengers were bused to a terminal. It said the airline will work with authorities to figure out what caused the crash landing.

The weather also meant cancellations of about 4,400 flights to, from or within the U.S. on Thursday, according to FlightAware.


COLD HANGING AROUND?

Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at Weather Bell Analytics, said cities including Waco, Texas; Chicago; Memphis, Tennessee; and Cleveland should expect record cold Friday morning.

In some cases, the old records could be obliterated.

In Memphis, for example, the coldest temperature on record for March 6 is 20 degrees. The forecast is calling for a low of 11. And at northern Virginia's Dulles Airport, a forecast low of 7 would shatter the record of 15.

"This is amazing for early March," Maue said of the Thursday-Friday forecast, one-two punch of snow and cold.


IS HIGHER FARE FAIR?

With the nation's capital under a snow emergency, cab rides are more expensive.

The D.C. Taxicab Commission said snow emergency status was in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. That meant cabs could add a $15 surcharge to the metered fare. It was meant to entice drivers to keep working.

Washington came to a halt in other ways, too: Most of its food trucks turned off their grills for the day. But people in the city did have a few places to go as the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum and National Museum of American History stayed open.


POWER KNOCKED OUT

The storm knocked out power to 85,000 homes and businesses in West Virginia on Thursday. The northern and western parts of the state were hardest hit. Officials warned that restoring power could be difficult because of road closures from high water in many spots after heavy rains on Wednesday.


FALLING SHORT OF THE RECORD

Bostonians didn't get the snow they needed to break a record.

This winter, Boston has received 105.5 inches of snow, more than 8 1/2 feet, the National Weather Service said. The record is 107.6 inches recorded during the 1995-96 season.

But Thursday's storm delivered just a dusting to Boston, not really enough to be measured, the weather service said.


Mulvihill reported from Haddonfield, New Jersey. Associated Press writers Bruce Schreiner in Shelbyville, Adam Beam in Frankfort, and Dylan Lovan in Louisville, all in Kentucky; Jeff Amy in Jackson, Mississippi; Jessica Gresko in Arlington, Virginia; and Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.

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