Winter's last hurrah? Forecasters say big storm could be season's last significant snowfall

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PHILADELPHIA — A storm stretching from northern Texas to southern New England is set to bring what could be winter's last significant snowfall for the East Coast.

West Virginia, Kentucky and southeastern Ohio were expected to get hit the hardest overnight Wednesday and into Thursday with 8 to 10 inches, while Baltimore and Washington, D.C., were looking at 6 to 8 inches of snow, said National Weather Service forecaster Bruce Terry. Philadelphia could get 6 inches and New York could see more than 4 inches of snow.

The temperature plummeted as the storm pushed east: In Arkansas, it dropped nearly 20 degrees in an hour from 71 at 11 a.m. to 52 at noon Wednesday.

Boston is a little more than 2 inches shy of its all-time snowfall record, and meteorologists were predicting 1 to 2 inches to fall by storm's end Thursday evening.

On Wednesday, schools from Texas to West Virginia were closing early and Penn State University canceled classes due to weather for the first time in eight years. About 1,200 flights were canceled, including 600 in and out of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Residents of Kentucky and West Virginia dealt with flooded roadways and mudslides. In Arkansas, high school basketball playoff games were postponed until Thursday.


LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?

Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center, said the storm "might be winter's last hurrah."

After the storm and maybe a couple of cold days into the weekend, the next couple weeks are forecast to be considerably warmer than normal for a large chunk of the country, Halpert said. But Halpert's office, which does longer term forecasts, does predict colder than normal for snow-struck New England and only normal temperatures — which would be warmer than recent weeks — for the rest of the Northeast.

Likewise, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski says the storm could be winter's "caboose."


TWO MORE INCHES, PLEASE!

Some Bostonians are clamoring for a little more snow so they can break a record.

So far this winter, the city has received 105.5 inches of snow — more than 8 1/2 feet, the National Weather Service says. The record is 107.6 inches recorded during the 1995-96 season. Records date to 1872.

Having endured weeks of misery, residents like Erin O'Brien insist they deserve bragging rights. Otherwise what was the point of repeatedly digging out?

"I want the record. We earned the record," said O'Brien, a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Others don't care about the record. Amy Ouellette, a marketing associate in Salem, north of Boston, just wants spring and sun to come and melt it all away.


ROOF COLLAPSE KILLS COWS

Officials are blaming heavy, wet snow for a partial barn roof collapse that killed at least five cows Wednesday morning in central New York.

The collapse at the Whey Street Dairy in Cuyler, 25 miles southeast of Syracuse, was one of hundreds of roof collapses blamed on heavy snow in the Northeast this winter.

Massachusetts officials say they've received reports of nearly 200 roof collapses since Feb. 9.

No one was injured Wednesday morning when a 100-foot by 100-foot section of the roof of Boston's vacant Bayside Expo Center collapsed. The building was previously slated for demolition.


ICE ROAD TRUCKERS

No injuries were reported in a four tractor-trailer crash that closed an icy road in rural western New York.

The Daily News of Batavia reports the trucks either collided or went off the road in drizzle and snow around 5 a.m. on Route 63 in the Genesee County town of Bethany, 32 miles southwest of Rochester.

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TRAVEL-WEARY BUCKEYES

Bad weather Tuesday night turned an Ohio State men's basketball team trip to Penn State from an easy one-hour plane ride into an 8½-hour ordeal.

Icy runways in State College, Pennsylvania, forced the team's plane to land in Latrobe, about 110 miles away.

After landing, the team's student managers tweeted: "weather conditions have the team stranded in the Pennsylvania wilderness. managers have been sent to find and salvage anything edible."

The managers joked they ordered pizzas — 25 large and scalding hot — to avoid being eaten by hungry players. The team took a bus the rest of the way to Penn State, traveling at times through dense fog and rain, for the Wednesday night game.

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