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Ice beats snow here as storm heads east

December 15, 2013
From staff and wire reports , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - A fast-moving storm expected to drop a foot of snow or more in the Northeast over the weekend moved into the region Saturday as road crews went on high alert and airlines began canceling flights.

Snowfall in much of the Ohio Valley was light, with much of the area receiving rain and sleet into Saturday night.

The National Weather Service has predicted less than an inch of snow for the Steubenville region, with no precipitation expected today. The weather service anticipates a high temperature of 28 degrees today, with wind gusts at 25 miles per hour. The temperature is expected to dip to 16 degrees tonight.

Ohio State Trooper Greg Scelley said icy road conditions led to accidents on U.S. Route 22, state Route 152 and other areas of Jefferson County. Scelley said most involved vehicles skidding off roads and he wasn't aware of any with serious injuries.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said he also was aware of minor accidents in scattered areas of the county.

Further east, utilities braced for power outages, airports prepared for delays and local officials readied for slick roads while shoppers headed out to stores to tackle gift lists during a shorter-than-normal holiday shopping season.

The National Weather Service has said 6 to 12 inches of snow was expected in New England, with as much as 14 inches possible along the Maine coast. Areas north and west of New York City and central Pennsylvania could get 8 inches or more. About half a foot was forecast in parts of Ohio, where snow began falling overnight.

Hours before kickoff Saturday at the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, accountant Kathy Porter hovered under layers of clothing in the stands, trying to keep warm amid low temperatures she doesn't get much of back home in Charlotte, N.C.

"We're just hoping for snow and not rain - I think we can handle the snow," Porter said. "I think we'll be OK. A little frozen but OK."

Airlines canceled about 940 flights because of the storm, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest as of midafternoon.

Meteorologist Paul Head with the National Weather Service in State College, Pa., said winds will pick up into today, presenting hazardous blowing snow for motorists.

Temperatures in Connecticut dropped into the teens as snow began to fall there Saturday, and officials worried about road conditions since a saltwater solution normally applied before storms would freeze. But they were grateful the bad weather wouldn't affect workday commutes.

"The timing is pretty good coming on a weekend," said Kevin Nursick, spokesman at the state Department of Transportation.

Not so for retailers, facing the prospect of a snow-dampened shopping weekend less than two weeks before Christmas.

Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, said consumers likely will shop online. And the weekend before Christmas gives retailers and shoppers another opportunity after this weekend.

"If a big storm hits around the 21st, 22nd, it will be a completely different story," Grannis said.

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