Plodding storm moves out of US at last

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 PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The storm that iced over Dallas, buried Philadelphia in snow and stranded drivers and air travelers everywhere in between at last plodded out of New England, exiting in muted fashion after days of foul weather.

Snow caused messy travel conditions and widespread school and government closures along the Eastern seaboard Tuesday, but turned out to be more nuisance than menace following heavy snows on the unsuspecting Mid-Atlantic region over the weekend.

Hundreds of transportation crews treated and cleared highways in New England, where up to 3 inches of snow fell in places. State police in Connecticut reported scores of vehicle crashes and at least eight minor injuries.

Public schools were closed in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and parts of Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Some schools in Connecticut were closed, while a few districts in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts canceled afternoon activities.

Flights were delayed in Philadelphia and New York City airports.

In Washington, snow was falling at daybreak, but traffic problems failed to materialize as many workers stayed home. Non-emergency federal employees were granted excused absences, and others were told to telecommute, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management said.

The snow ended before the evening commute in Philadelphia, which was socked by a surprise 8-inch snowfall on Sunday; the new storm brought about 2 inches.

In Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the snow persisted throughout the day, with some flakes falling during the evening drive, making for slick road conditions.

In central and southwest Ohio, overnight snowfall made the morning commute slow and messy.

Outside Washington, traffic was light Tuesday morning. With temperatures hovering around freezing, highways that had been plowed and treated were passable, but conditions began to deteriorate after 8 a.m. as the pace of the snowfall increased.

"I wish it was like this all the time - minus the snow," said Maelin Traylor, of Springfield. "The traffic was wonderful."

Rick Hemphill, a retired deputy court clerk, had a busy Tuesday morning ferrying family members to and from their jobs in rural Washington County, Md., through several inches of fresh snow. He said he grew up driving in snow in mountainous western Maryland.

"Snow is snow," Hemphill said as he refueled his four-wheel-drive vehicle near his Hagerstown-area home. "The closer you get to the city, it gets worse because they get it less often."

Tuesday's storm offered up a sense of levity and fun for Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein compared with Sunday's squall, which hampered her travel plans to Baltimore for a wedding. Schools in her hometown of Cheltenham, just north of Philadelphia, were closed.

"Got the call from school at 5 a.m., rolled over and went back to sleep till 9," she said. "Kids are out sledding, and I'm working and making a pot of soup. Yep, I'm loving this snow day!"

Forecasters said more wintry weather could be on the way for the region this weekend.

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Nuckols reported from Springfield, Va. Associated Press writers Matt Moore in Philadelphia; Michelle R. Smith in Providence, R.I.; Samantha Henry in Newark; and David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Md., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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