Winter storm hits East, disrupts Super Bowl travel
By KATHY MATHESON
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A winter storm dumped several inches of wet, heavy snow on parts of the eastern United States on Monday, snarling air and road travel for commuters and Super Bowl fans, cutting power, and closing schools and government offices.
Fat flakes began falling during the morning commute Monday and continued falling throughout the afternoon in Philadelphia, creating slushy sidewalks and streets. The Philadelphia and New York areas were expecting about 8 inches, erasing all memory of Sunday's weather in 50s.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency with travel conditions hazardous. Nonessential government employees were dismissed early. Government offices, courts and schools closed in parts of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia; scattered power outages were reported throughout the region. As the storm moved out, the weather service reported about 8 inches of snow near Frostburg, Md., while parts of southern Ohio got about 10 inches.
By mid-afternoon, the flight-tracking website FlightAware reported more than 3,000 delayed flights and 1,700 canceled flights nationwide in cities including Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., and New York. Inbound flights to Newark, LaGuardia and Kennedy airports were delayed one to three hours because of snow and ice.
For Russ Louderback, of Fishers, Ind., and his 11-year-old son Mason, the Super Bowl was a triple whammy of bad luck in less than 24 hours: Their beloved Denver Broncos lost, they got stuck in an hours-long traffic jam leaving the stadium and their 3 p.m. flight home Monday was canceled.
"It was so congested we couldn't get out of New Jersey, even though we left early because our team lost," said Louderback, 57, a hotel executive. He hopes to be on a plane Monday evening.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was among the stranded travelers after her return flight to Phoenix was canceled Monday, a spokesman said. Brewer attended the big game as part of the ceremonial handoff of hosting duties; next year's Super Bowl is in Glendale, Ariz.
Francois Emond, of Alma, Quebec, arrived at Newark Airport at 6 a.m. Monday to find his flight home had been canceled. Wearing a Seahawks championship hat and an ear-to-ear smile, he said he didn't care about the cancellation or the weather in light of Seattle's victory. He planned to spend an extra night at his hotel in New York.
"The night will be very short," Emond said. "When you win a Super Bowl for the first time, the night is very, very short."
In Connecticut, 71-year-old architect Frank Emery described messy conditions outside as he stopped at a coffee shop in New Haven.
"A lot of people must have called in sick after the Super Bowl," he said. "It's not cleaned up as well as usual."
In Philadelphia, the airport experienced delays as long as four hours at one point Monday morning because of snow and ice. But the flight home for Seahawks fan George Shiley, 50, of Snohomish, Wash., remained on schedule at midday.
Shiley, a Seattle season ticket holder, had won a lottery for Super Bowl tickets. He and his buddy stayed in Philadelphia, about 85 miles southwest of the stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
"It's been a great trip. I joked that 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' - and it was, until today," said Shiley, referring to the FX sitcom.
Another storm is likely to hit the same region beginning Tuesday night, bringing a combination of rain, freezing rain and snow, said Gary Szatkowsi, a weather service meteorologist in Mount Holly, N.J.
Perhaps residents shouldn't be surprised, considering groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter on Sunday.
There's also a possibility for a storm this weekend, Szatkowski said.
"I like to say Punxsutawney Phil agrees with me," he said. "Winter's not over, that's for sure."