Photos: Spring nor'easter blankets mid-Atlantic, shatters snowfall records

The first days of spring featured a major winter storm to the northeastern United States, bringing travel to a halt and leading to widespread school cancellations across the region.

This was the fourth nor'easter to hit the region this March, spreading snow across a large area spanning from Kentucky through Massachusetts.

Over 5,000 flight cancellations and hundreds of vehicle accidents were reported on Wednesday as snow snarled travel across the Northeast.

"As AccuWeather predicted in its long-range winter forecasts back in October, March has proven to be an active month with this being the fourth powerful Nor'easter in a month. Flight cancellations, transportation delays, and damage to personal property from falling trees and power lines will cause this to be yet another high-impact economic disruption," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Long-Range Forecaster David Samuhel said.

Although major snowstorms are not uncommon in late March, it can be difficult for snow to accumulate during the daytime hours in cities such as Philadelphia and New York City.

"The tilt of the earth as it orbits around the sun causes the rays of the sun to strike the Northern Hemisphere at a higher and higher angle through the spring. These more direct rays warm the ground and the lower atmosphere," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

"As a result, it must snow at a heavier rate to accumulate during the daytime compared to the nighttime or compared to the middle of January," Sosnowski said.

However, the midweek nor'easter was strong enough to overcome the spring sun angle, allowing for major cities to pick up disruptive accumulations.

In Central Park, 8.2 inches of snow accumulated on Wednesday, breaking the old record of 7.1 set in 1958. The three major New York City area airports received record-breaking amounts of snow as well, with 8.7 inches at LaGuardia (old record: 6.9 inches from 1958); 8.4 inches at Kennedy Airport (old record: 0.8 inches in 1993) and 7.9 inches in Newark, New Jersey (old record: 5.3 in 1958).

Records were also shattered in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Allentown, Pennsylvania; at Washington-Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. and in Islip, New York.

23 PHOTOS
Nor'easter Toby shatters snowfall records from DC to NYC
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Nor'easter Toby shatters snowfall records from DC to NYC
A woman walks in the snow during a winter nor'easter storm in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Workers clear snow during a winter nor'easter storm in Times Square in New York City, U.S., March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A woman walks in the snow during a winter nor'easter storm in the Chinatown area of New York City, U.S., March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
People walk in the snow during a winter nor'easter storm in New York, U.S., March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A man walks through the snow during a winter nor'easter storm in the Chinatown area of New York City, U.S., March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Aircraft wait on snowy tarmac as Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and the surrounding Newark, New Jersey region were almost entirely shut down by Winter Storm Toby, as heavy snowfall canceled flights and closed roads, March 21, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
Departure board showing severe delays as Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and the surrounding Newark, New Jersey region were almost entirely shut down by Winter Storm Toby, as heavy snowfall canceled flights and closed roads, March 21, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2018/03/21: Unloading a UPS (United Parcel Service) truck on West 72nd Street in a snow storm in New York City. Winter Storm Toby, is throwing a fresh wave of snow to New York City just as spring begins. The storm caused heavy damage in the south with hail, high winds and tornadoes. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2018/03/21: Snow storm in the area of Bethesda Terrace in Central Park in New York City. Winter Storm Toby, is throwing a fresh wave of snow to New York City just as spring begins. The storm caused heavy damage in the south with hail, high winds and tornadoes. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A snowman on the Gapstow Bridge in Central Park in New York March 21, 2018 as the fourth nor'easter in a month hits the tri-state area on the first full day of spring. Winter Storm Toby, is throwing a fresh blanket of snow just as spring begins. The storm caused heavy damaged in the south with hail, high winds and tornadoes. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Pedestrians stand under an umbrella during a snow storm in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. A winter storm that has closed government offices in Washington and schools in New York is arriving late but slowly moving north, threatening to set snowfall records across the Northeast. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Washington Monument past trees covered in snow in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. A winter storm that has closed government offices in Washington and schools in New York is arriving late but slowly moving north, threatening to set snowfall records across the Northeast. Photographer: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 21: Bobby Reynolds lays on the snowy beach before surfing at Rockaway Beach during a snow storm March 21, 2018 in the Queens borough of New York. New York City and much of New England has experienced four Nor'easter winter storms in recent weeks. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
Dogs play in the snow during a snow storm in Washington, DC, March 21, 2018. The fourth Noreaster in less than three weeks, Winter Storm Toby, is throwing a fresh blanket of snow just as spring begins. / AFP PHOTO / David GANNON (Photo credit should read DAVID GANNON/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman walks in a park during a snow storm in Washington, DC, March 21, 2018. The fourth Noreaster in less than three weeks, Winter Storm Toby, is throwing a fresh blanket of snow just as spring begins. / AFP PHOTO / David GANNON (Photo credit should read DAVID GANNON/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 21: People wait for the bus in the snow on March 21, 2018 in New York City. New York City and much of New England has experienced four winter storms in recent weeks that have resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights, downed power lines and closed schools and businesses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Two people walk through heavy snow near the Washington Monument during the latest storm to hit the US east coast on March 21, 2018, in Washington, DC. The fourth Noreaster in less than three weeks, Winter Storm Toby, is throwing a fresh blanket of snow just as spring begins. The storm caused heavy damaged in the south with hail, high winds and tornadoes. / AFP PHOTO / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Snow-covered cars are seen during a snow storm in Washington, DC, March 21, 2018. The fourth Noreaster in less than three weeks, Winter Storm Toby, is throwing a fresh blanket of snow just as spring begins. / AFP PHOTO / David GANNON (Photo credit should read DAVID GANNON/AFP/Getty Images)
Snow covers a cherry blossom tree in Centreville, Maryland on March 21, 2018. The fourth Noreaster in less than three weeks, Winter Storm Toby, is throwing a fresh blanket of snow just as spring begins. The storm caused heavy damaged in the south with hail, high winds and tornadoes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A man takes a photo of a duck near the Lincoln memorial during the latest storm to hit the US east coast on March 21, 2018, in Washington, DC. The fourth Nor�easter in less than three weeks, Winter Storm Toby, is throwing a fresh blanket of snow just as spring begins. The storm caused heavy damaged in the south with hail, high winds and tornadoes. / AFP PHOTO / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A Bobcat Co. machine clears snow in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. A winter storm that has closed government offices in Washington and schools in New York is arriving late but slowly moving north, threatening to set snowfall records across the Northeast. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 21: A man crosses the street in a snow storm on March 21, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. New York City and much of New England has experienced four winter storms in recent weeks that have resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights, downed power lines and closed schools and businesses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 21: A man crosses the street in a snow storm on March 21, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. New York City and much of New England has experienced four winter storms in recent weeks that have resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights, downed power lines and closed schools and businesses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Washington, D.C. received 4 inches of snow before the snow tapered off on Wednesday afternoon. This was more than the 3.7 inches of snow that the city received all winter before the nor'easter.

Farther north, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, received over 10 inches of snow, making Wednesday the snowiest spring day on record for the town.

nyc frequency

New York City received over 6 inches of snow during the spring nor'easter. On average, this type of late-March snow accumulation only happens once every 12 years.

Meanwhile, the double barreled storm lead to a long-duration snowfall farther inland, resulting in higher snowfall amounts.

Accumulations over a foot were common in the Appalachian Mountains from Virginia to central Pennsylvania, including 15 inches in Sabillasville, Maryland, and 19 inches near Windber, Pennsylvania.

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