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Winter storm blankets Southeast, heads north

At least a foot is expected in Philadelphia and New York. In Georgia and Alabama, flights are canceled, not to mention Sunday church services.

March 02, 2009|Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. — A potent March snowstorm blanketed much of the Southeast on Sunday before barreling toward the Northeast, where officials prepared snowplows and road salt.

The icy blast threatened to drop up to a foot of snow in the Philadelphia area, 13 inches in New York and 15 inches across southern New England.

Thousands of New York sanitation workers prepared to salt city streets, and airlines preemptively canceled flights at the region's major airports.

In Georgia, the snow delayed flights, while in Alabama more than 210 churches canceled services. Between 2 and 5 inches fell across the states.

Vonda Braswell of Alabaster, Ala., was throwing snowballs in her front yard instead of putting on her Sunday best. "I think you can worship in this, it's so rare," she said.

Up to 7 inches of snow was expected through this morning in areas of Maryland, northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., where Mayor Adrian Fenty declared a snow emergency.

In Virginia, nearly 10,000 customers of two utilities lost power Sunday night.

Maryland has already spent more than $40 million responding to bad weather in what's been a colder-than-usual winter, Gov. Martin O'Malley said. "I don't like snow," he said.

In New York, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that more than 1,300 sanitation workers stood ready to spread salt and plow streets.

As Wayne Letson drove through Alabama toward Florida on Sunday, the Michigan resident fretted about sharing the roads with Southerners unaccustomed to winter weather. The last time it snowed in Alabama was more than a year ago, in January 2008.

"This is nothing to me, but I'm worried about the other people who think they know what they're doing," he said.

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