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Another blast of arctic air follows latest snow


WASHINGTON (AP) - The seemingly endless winter dumped a half a foot snow on the ground in parts of the South, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and many areas Tuesday morning saw something even more unusual in March: a blast of arctic air that sent temperatures plummeting into the single digits.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport broke a 141-year-old record low temperature, reaching 4 degrees. The National Weather Service said the low reached early Tuesday broke a 5-degree record set on the day in 1873. It was also a record low for the month of March. Dulles International Airport - also outside Washington - tied a 1993 record for the month at -1 degree.

Both airports broke record lows two days in a row.

Schools and government offices along the East Coast were closed Tuesday or delayed opening. Virginia State Police said slickened roads were factors in three traffic deaths. And authorities in Maryland's Prince George's County said a 60-year-old woman died after shoveling snow there.

Blame it on a return of the "polar vortex."

"That is the buzzword this winter, the polar vortex. That cold air just kind of migrates around the poles and the extreme northern latitudes all the time," said Jim Lee, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. "The jet stream enables that colder air to move down the East Coast."

Monday's snowstorm followed a pattern that's become routine. Schools and government offices were closed. Federal workers stayed home - the fourth weather-related shutdown this season. Young adults gathered on the sloppy, slushy National Mall for a semi-organized, afternoon snowball fight.

Tourists, who flock to the nation's capital 365 days a year, were seeking out whatever activities they could find.

The National Air and Space Museum was the only Smithsonian institution open, and it drew a crowd. Among the visitors were Russ Watters, 60, of St. Louis, and his 14-year-old son, Seth, who was touring Washington with his 8th-grade class.

"We're trying to find stuff that's open, so this is open," Watters said.

The storm had a major effect south of the Mason-Dixon line. Governors declared states of emergency in Virginia and Tennessee, where there were hundreds of traffic accidents and tens of thousands of power outages. Nearly 3,000 flights were canceled Monday.

In Falls Church, Va., daredevils took advantage of another snow day by sledding down a steep hill behind an elementary school. Maya Luera, 11, said she wouldn't be so happy in June, when the school year will be extended because there's been so much snow.

"I'm more of a summer person, so I'd rather have more free time in the summer than the winter," she said.

Join the discussion

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hotspringspark March 04 2014 at 1:23 PM

Where is Mr Ozone Hole?

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2 replies
Mitch hotspringspark March 04 2014 at 1:40 PM

You should know. Your head is up in it.

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1 reply
rogstratman Mitch March 04 2014 at 2:06 PM

Poor Mitch. When he loses an argument he lashes out. Very mature...

Flag +3 rate up
dstauff1093 hotspringspark March 04 2014 at 4:28 PM

To Karen, Why were these brilliant Global warming scientist going to study in antarctica if the problem is at the other end of the Earth?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
SRJimVal2 March 04 2014 at 5:18 PM

I've got one more 10 pound bag of rock salt left. I'm holding out until I really need to use it. LOL

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1 reply
Joebudgie SRJimVal2 March 04 2014 at 6:33 PM

How far will the one 10 pound bag of rock salt go?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
switzarch Joebudgie March 04 2014 at 7:58 PM

Depends on how strong your arms are when you fling it.

Flag +1 rate up
jeff March 04 2014 at 9:46 AM

If Obama gives more "Look, folks" speeches outside, he'll warm up WDC with a blast of hot air.

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fred March 04 2014 at 9:46 AM

Normal for this kind of weather after Black History Month.

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catherine March 04 2014 at 4:56 PM

Well Well it's time that cleveland is not in the news for weather!!!! ACTUALLY WE ARE very use TO BAD weather and LOTS of snow so God Bless Those That's getting the snow now.

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thosholzel March 04 2014 at 9:48 AM

Where are all the Global Warming Cassandras hiding? I'm dying to hear their latest excuse, something on the order of "A side-effect of Global Warming is extreme cold," or other equally vaccuous blather. As Danish climatologist Hendrik Svensmark said a few years ago about Global Warming: "Enjoy it while it lasts."

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ajr_rocks March 04 2014 at 4:50 PM

yea i live near Winston-Salem North Carolina and it snowed like 1/4 of an inch and THEY CANCELED SCHOOL!!!! i used to live in Chicago and i remember they canceled school only once and that was in 2011 when we got the "groundhog day blizzard" and we got 2 feet of snow.

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1 reply
Georgia A McD ajr_rocks March 04 2014 at 6:11 PM

I live in Knoxville, TN They have canceled school twice because it was GOING to snow and it didn't.

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fred March 04 2014 at 9:53 AM

If we could just complete 173 more studies on the Keystone pipeline, this weather would end (with Phony Al's blessing).

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jda7175098 March 04 2014 at 4:47 PM

Hmmm......Slight change in the Eliptical Orbit of the Earth....an other Ice Age coming?....The Meteorologist an Earth Scientist will go crazy as they watch the Glaciers form and Advance....Animal life change....The Wooly Mammoth and Sabre tooth tiger and Snow Lion come back......Hmmmmmm????

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Mike and Patti March 04 2014 at 9:44 AM

Must be global warming!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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