Winter’s last hurrah? Temperatures plummet again; more snow

A man walks past a billboard for a Smithsonian Museum on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, March 5, 2015, as snow begins to fall. The U.S. federal government said its offices in the Washington area will be closed Thursday because of a new round of winter weather expected in the region. The Office of Personnel Management said non-emergency personnel in and around Washington were granted excused absences for the day. Emergency employees and telework-ready employees were expected to work. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Winter could have at least one more blast for much of the U.S. after the late-season snow stops falling: Record low temperatures are in the forecast for dozens or cities.

By midday Thursday, a strong cold front moving across the eastern U.S. had dumped more than 20 inches of snow into parts of Kentucky, and snow was starting to pile up in the Mid-Atlantic region, with 6½ inches reported in Manchester, in northern Maryland. The National Weather Service had winter storm warnings in effect from Texas to Nantucket.

Schools, government offices and legislatures in the South and Northeast were shut down for what could be one of the last snow days at the end of a winter that’s been brutal for much of the country.

Here’s a look at what’s happening:

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COLD HANGING AROUND?

Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at Weather Bell Analytics, said cities including Waco, Texas; Chicago, Memphis 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,” he said of the Thursday-Friday, one-two punch of snow and cold.

For those awaiting spring, there’s a hint of good news: Unlike the persistent deep-freeze experienced by much of the country in February, this one shouldn’t hang around as long.

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SLIPPERY RUNWAY

A plane skidded off a runway while landing at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport at about 11 a.m. Thursday.

The Fire Department of New York says any injuries appeared to be minor.

The Delta flight from Atlanta was carrying 125 passengers and five crew members.

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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 are in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. That means cabs can add a $15 surcharge to the metered fare. It’s meant to entice drivers to keep working.

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POWER KNOCKED OUT

The storm knocked out power to 82,000 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.

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CONGRESS FLEES FLURRIES

The weather forecast got Congress going and produced rare bipartisan agreements in the House and Senate to finish business early and get out of town.

Senate leaders set the last vote of the week for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. But that wasn’t good enough for Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

“Is there any way you could change that to 2:20 from 2:30?” Inhofe asked on the Senate floor. “There are four people who can’t make planes, otherwise.”

He was accommodated.

More than 3,000 flights have been canceled for Thursday nationwide.

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TWO MORE INCHES, PLEASE!

Some Bostonians were clamoring for a little more snow to break a record.

This winter, the city 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. Records date to 1872.

Having endured weeks of misery, residents such as 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.

Alas, little more than a dusting was expected in Boston.

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Mulvihill reported from Haddonfield, New Jersey. Jeff Amy in Jackson, Mississippi; Jessica Gresko in Arlington, Virginia; and Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.

 

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