Battered, beleaguered: Storm socks East Coast

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Battered, beleaguered: Storm socks East Coast
Trevor Albert, right, Courtney Fulton, center, and Alejandro Escobar, all from Arlington, Va., run past the Lincoln Memorial in the snow in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. After pummeling wide swaths of the South, a winter storm dumped nearly a foot of snow in Washington as it marched Northeast and threatened more power outages, traffic headaches and widespread closures for millions of residents. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Workmen clear snow from the steps on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, as winter weather shut down Washington. After pummeling wide swaths of the South, a winter storm dumped nearly a foot of snow in Washington as it marched Northeast and threatened more power outages, traffic headaches and widespread closures for millions of residents. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Satellite view of a Nor'easter moving up the East Coast of the US on the morning of February 13, 2014.
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 13: A man braces his umbrella while walking through the snow on February 13, 2014 in New York City. Heavy snow and high winds made for a hard morning commute in the city. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A morning commuter walks in the plowed road as mixed winter precipitation falls Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Philadelphia. Snow and sleet are falling on the East Coast, from North Carolina to New England, a day after sleet, snow and ice bombarded the Southeast. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A man shields his face from a mixed winter precipitation Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Philadelphia. Snow and sleet are falling on the East Coast, from North Carolina to New England, a day after sleet, snow and ice bombarded the Southeast. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A worker plows snow from a parking lot during a major snowstorm February 13, 2014 in Manassas, Virginia. The biggest storm of the season dumped a thick snow blanket on the Washington, DC area overnight and early Thursday, shutting down the federal government, local schools, courts and government offices, airports and Metros bus service. AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
A February 13, 2014 photo shows Massachusetts Avenue during rush hour, clear of traffic, in the northwest of Washington, DC on February 13, 2014. A major storm blowing in heavy snow and ice gripped large swaths of the winter-weary United States early Thursday, leaving a dozen people dead and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the Secret Service uniformed division keeps watch on a snow-covered Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, DC on February 13, 2014. A major storm blowing in heavy snow and ice gripped large swaths of the winter-weary United States early Thursday, leaving a dozen people dead and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Peace activist Taylor Hall clears snow from the peace vigil tent, which has been held outside the White House since 1981, during a snow storm in Lafayette Park across from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. After pummeling wide swaths of the South, a winter storm dumped nearly a foot of snow in Washington as it marched Northeast and threatened more power outages, traffic headaches and widespread closures for millions of residents. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
CORRECTS STATE TO PENNSYLVANIA, NOT NEW JERSEY - Plows clear snow near Newtown, Pa., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. A winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of the Mid-Atlantic region as it marched Northeast and threatened more power outages, traffic headaches and widespread closures for millions of residents. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Snow covers the National Mall near the Washington Monument, center, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2014. The winter storm that cut electricity to more than half a million customers across the South and grounded 10,000 flights this week turned its power on the U.S. Northeast, bringing heavy snow from Virginia to Maine. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Cars of travelers are covered in deep snow February 13, 2014 at the long term parking lot at Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Virginia near Washington, DC. Ronald Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport were closed early Thursday with more than 300 flights cancelled at Reagan and over one hundred cancelled at Dulles. Specialty website FlightAware said airlines canceled at least 3,700 flights on February 12th and had already shelved 5,500 for Thursday, including many flights to and from New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington. The latest brutal freeze to hammer the eastern states of the country since the start of the year has been dubbed 'snowmaggedon,' 'mind-boggling' and 'historic' by major television networks and forecasters. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
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By MARK SCOLFORO and RON TODT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The latest storm to roll off nature's assembly line this bustling winter spread heavy snow and sleet along the Northeast corridor Thursday, while utility crews in the ice-encrusted South labored to restore power to hundreds of thousands of shivering residents.

The sloppy weather shuttered schools and businesses, made driving scary, grounded more than 6,000 flights on Thursday alone and created more back-breaking work for people along the East Coast, where shoveling out has become a weekly chore - sometimes a twice-weekly one.

"Snow has become a four-letter word," said Tom McGarrigle, chairman of the Delaware County Council, in suburban Philadelphia.

Baltimore awoke to 15 inches of snow. Washington, D.C., had at least 8, and federal offices and the city's two main airports were closed.

Philadelphia had nearly 9 inches, making it the fourth 6-inch snowstorm of the season - the first time that has happened in the city's history. New York City received nearly 10 inches. Parts of New Jersey had over 11. The Boston area was expecting 4 to 6, while inland Connecticut and Massachusetts were looking at a foot or more.

In New Cumberland, Pa., Randal DeIvernois had to take a rest after shoveling his driveway. His snow blower had conked out.

"Every time it snows, it's like, oh, not again," he said. "I didn't get this much snow when I lived in Colorado. It's warmer at the Olympics than it is here. That's ridiculous."

At least 18 deaths, most of them in traffic accidents, were blamed on the storm as it made its way across the South and up the coast.

Among the victims was a pregnant woman who was struck and killed by a snowplow in New York City. Her baby was delivered in critical condition via cesarean section.

The dead also included a man hit by a falling tree limb in North Carolina and a truck driver in Ashburn, Va., who was working to clear snowy roads. He was standing behind his vehicle when he was hit by a dump truck.

Across the South, the storm left in its wake a world of ice-encrusted trees and driveways and snapped branches and power lines.

About 750,000 homes and businesses were left without power in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama, with scattered outages reported in the mid-Atlantic.

More than 200,000 households and businesses in the Atlanta area alone were waiting for the electricity to come back on. Temperatures were expected to drop below freezing again overnight.

In North Carolina, where the storm caused huge traffic jams in the Raleigh area on Wednesday as people left work and rushed to get home in the middle of the day, National Guardsmen in high-riding Humvees patrolled the snowy roads, looking for any stranded motorists.

Some roads around Raleigh remained clogged with abandoned vehicles Thursday morning. City crews were working to tow the vehicles to safe areas where their owners could recover them.

By late Thursday morning, parts of northern Georgia had over 9 inches of snow, while North Carolina ranged from 6 inches in cities to up to 15 inches in mountainous areas. Parts of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania were reporting 15 to 18 inches.

Pat O'Pake, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plow operator with more than 20 years on the job, began his grueling 12-hour shift at midnight, plying a stretch of Interstate 78 in Berks County.

"It's like a dog chasing its tail all day," O'Pake said as he drove his 14-ton International at a steady 37 mph. "Until it stops snowing, and then we'll catch up at the end. We always do. It just takes a while."

The procession of storms and cold blasts - blamed in part on a kink in the jet stream, the high-altitude air currents that dictate weather - has cut into retail sales across the U.S., the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Sales dipped 0.4 percent in January.

"It's been a tough winter. It seems like it will never end," said Deb Ragan, clearing a sidewalk in downtown Philadelphia.

On the National Mall in Washington, 8-year-old Lucas Moore was out having fun with his father and thinking about how all the snow days he has had this year may come back to haunt him.

"If they do cut into summer, I'm going to be, like, really mad and trying not to go to school," he said. "When it's summer, play time."

In New York City, the teachers union and TV weatherman Al Roker blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to keep the schools open. Roker, who was in Russia for the Winter Olympics but has a daughter in New York's public schools, said on Twitter: "It's going to take some kid or kids getting hurt before this goofball policy gets changed."

The mayor said many parents depend on schools to watch over their children while they are at work.

The dangerous weather threatened to disrupt deliveries of Valentine's Day flowers.

"It's a godawful thing," said Mike Flood, owner of Falls Church Florist in Virginia. "We're going to lose money, there's no doubt about it."

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