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Winter storm brings snow, tie-ups to East

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Chastity
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« on: December 04, 2007, 01:21:07 pm »

Winter storm brings snow, tie-ups to East

Story Highlights
NEW: Up to 20 inches of snow expected in parts of New England

Storm blamed for at least 16 deaths, mostly in Midwest

Hundreds of flights into New York delayed by hours

Heavy snow welcomed in eastern ski areas after last season's slump

Next Article in U.S.


 Read  VIDEO  PHOTOS EXPLAINER
     
STOWE, Vermont (AP) -- A winter storm that wreaked havoc on the Upper Midwest began its snowy assault on the East on Monday, spelling trouble for travelers but elation for ski resorts that suffered through an abysmal winter last year.




 
A father pushes his daughter Monday while clearing his driveway in Montpelier, Vermont.

 1 of 2 more photos   Drivers in much of the region had to navigate a mix of rain, sleet and snow as the storm -- blamed for at least 16 deaths -- made its way east, blanketing northern New England overnight and threatening to dump up to 20 inches in places.

"It's not snow. It's white gold," said Christopher Francis, innkeeper at Ye Olde England Inne, a 30-room inn in the shadow of Stowe Mountain Resort.

At the same time, a new storm system began lashing the West Coast and was expected to give the Midwest a second blast of snow starting Tuesday.

In Vermont, 7 inches of snow welcomed skiers and snowboarders Monday morning. School was canceled or classes delayed from New York to Maine as highways turned slippery and wind gusted to 40 mph. Ice storm warnings were issued for Massachusetts and Connecticut, and winter storm warnings were in effect in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and northern and western New York.

At Portland International Jetport in Maine, flights were canceled because of poor conditions at connecting airports.  Watch storm's icy grip on nation

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Hundreds of flights into the New York City area's three main airports were delayed as long as two hours Sunday by wind and ice, and hundreds of flights were canceled Saturday at Chicago's O'Hare.

But in northern New England snowstorms are considered sacred events, and parka-clad snow lovers will skip school, work or other commitments to take advantage. A line of people had already formed Monday when one of the lifts at Stowe Mountain Resort opened.

"We were supposed to be leaving today, but we decided to stay once we saw the weather," said snowboarder James Bykowski, 31, of Belmar, New Jersey. "I was pretty pumped," he said. His girlfriend, a teacher, called in sick Monday.

"This is a great way to start the season," said John Block, 37, of Huntington, New York, lacing up his boots in the parking lot. "It makes all the traveling and the waiting worthwhile."

Last year Stowe was forced to close for four days in December for lack of snow. This year early season snow prompted the resort to open a week early November 17, and cold weather has helped snowmaking since then.

"How do I feel today? Euphoric," said spokesman Michael Colbourn.

That was the feeling in the village of Stowe, seven miles down the mountain, where ski-reliant stores, restaurants and inns are still recovering from last winter.

"It's good for everything -- for skiing and for the town," said Syd Carney, who was working the desk at Shaw's General Store. "It's probably slowing some people down today, but it's good in the long run."

Drivers were encouraged to take it slow, but that didn't prevent accidents.

In western New York state an 18-year-old woman was killed Sunday when her car slid into the path of another vehicle on a rural road in Cattaraugus County.

At a popular sledding hill in South Portland, Maine, dozens raced downhill on snowboards, tubes and sleds.

Tom Lacascia and his 8-year-old son, Frank, were the first to arrive at 8:30 a.m. Lacascia, who recently moved from Long Island, New York, liked the early arrival of winter.

"We usually don't get snow until January down there," Lacascia said. "I think this is great."

At Drillen Hardware in South Portland, Maine, customers came in search of snow scrapers and shovels. But the storm's buildup on television spurred a run over the weekend on shovels, bags of ice-melting products, firewood, kerosene and flashlights.

"It's a little ridiculous, the hype," said store owner Kathy Drillen. "But it's excellent for business."

New Hampshire got 9 inches by midday Monday, with more on the way.

Bill Boynton, a spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, said 650 state plows were out on New Hampshire's highways.

"Everybody's out and has been pretty much most of the night," Boynton said.

The storm wreaked havoc in the Midwest before moving East Sunday night.

Lake-effect snow and high winds gusting to 40 mph hit parts of western New York Monday morning. Three to 6 inches fell in central New York state, and schools from New York to Maine either delayed or canceled class. Parts of northern New Jersey measured about 3 inches of snow.  How lakes cause huge snowfalls

Icy or wet pavement was blamed for four deaths in Michigan, three in Wisconsin, two in New Jersey and one each in Illinois, Indiana, New York, North Dakota and Colorado. One of the New Jersey deaths occurred during the night in a 15-car pileup that also injured 28 people, police said.

On the opposite side of the country, a new storm system hammered the Northwest with wind gusting higher than 100 mph in some spots and surf reported 45 feet high.

Mudslides halted Amtrak passenger train service between Eugene, Oregon, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Fallen trees and flooding blocked all highways into Tillamook, Oregon. At one point early Monday, authorities had closed almost every road into Aberdeen, Washington. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/weather/12/03/winter.weather.ap/index.html#cnnSTCText
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