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March 26, 2013

Snow closes schools, cancels flights

HAMBURG, Pa. — Five days into spring, warm weather and budding flowers were just a rumor Monday as the East Coast endured another blast of winter.

A wide-ranging storm that buried parts of the Midwest weakened as it moved east but still managed to carpet lawns and fields in a fresh layer of white. Many schools opened late or closed early, and hundreds of flights were canceled.

The cold temperatures and miserable mixture of snow and rain had people longing for more agreeable weather.

In Maryland, Michael Pugh donned a wool coat, knit cap, waterproof pants and heavy boots to trudge more than a mile through four inches of wet snow to his bank in downtown Hagerstown, about 70 miles west of Baltimore.

By this time of year, “I was hoping it’d be sunny and the weather breaking,” said Pugh, a warehouse worker who turned 38 Monday. “Every day I think I can pack up the winter coat and break out the spring clothes, and I can’t.”

Earlier, the storm walloped the Midwest, dumping a record 17 inches in Springfield, Ill., and a foot or more elsewhere in the state. Travel remained treacherous Monday afternoon, with Interstate 55 and 57 still covered in snow and ice, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The system was little more than a nuisance by the time it reached the East Coast. Air travel saw the biggest impact, with nearly 600 flights canceled as of Monday afternoon, according to the FlightAware tracking service. Hardest-hit airports included those in New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

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