Storm Cleanup Continues

Cleanup crews were out early Saturday to clearing snow and ice from Manhattan streets in preparation for the city's St. Patrick's Day parade, a day after a heavy storm buffeted the East Coast and caused the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights.

Forecasters said the sleet, snow and freezing rain that pelted the East Coast Friday had tailed off, and the National Weather Service canceled a winter storm warning for New York City and the surrounding areas.

"We got the whole gamut there," Nelson Vaz, a meteorologist with the weather service, said early Saturday. He called the weather "a pretty impressive late-winter storm."

The storm dumped up to six inches of snow on parts of Maryland and forecasters said more than a foot could have fallen in upstate New York. It was being blamed for at least five traffic deaths in New Jersey and three in Pennsylvania, authorities said.

JetBlue canceled nearly three-fourths of its scheduled flights on Friday to avoid the criticism and chaos that followed a Valentine's Day storm, when the company was slow to cancel flights and some passengers were stranded in planes for hours.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said more than 1,400 flights were canceled Friday at the region's three major airports because of the storm.

American, United, Delta and Continental also canceled flights, and there were delays reported in at airports in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Albany, N.Y., Baltimore-Washington and Boston.

At the airport in Newark, N.J., Karen Opdyke, 48, was trying to get to Miami for a cruise with her husband, three young children and mother after their 9 a.m. flight was canceled.

"We got on the plane, we got off the plane. We got on the plane and off the plane," Opdyke said as she balanced a crying child next to a pile of luggage. She wasn't having any luck rescheduling. "There's nothing available all week."

New Jersey state police had responded to about 1,300 reports of accidents or spinoffs on the roads by late Friday afternoon, state police Sgt. Stephen Jones said.

In Delaware, state police said sleet and ice were responsible for more than 100 accidents, and a vehicle in President George W. Bush's motorcade traveling from Washington to Camp David collided on Friday with another car along a slushy Interstate in Urbana, Md. No one was injured.

The storm also forced school cancellations throughout the Northeast and prompted some government agencies to send workers home early.

In Hartford, Conn. and York, Pa., officials postponed their annual St. Patrick's Day parades. New York did not cancel its parade, and officials were expecting up to 2 million people to attend.

Winter officially ends at the vernal equinox Tuesday evening, but climatologists said it was not unusual for storms to arrive well into March.

"Usually you have the biggest storms in March," said meteorologist Kevin Lipton in Albany, N.Y.

On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that this winter was the warmest worldwide since record keeping began in 1880.


Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz in New York, Jeffrey Gold and Janet Frankston Lorin in Newark, N.J., Rebecca Santana in Trenton, N.J., and Michael Virtanen in Albany, N.Y. contributed to this report.

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This program aired on March 17, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.


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