Snowy Truth: Spring Hasn't Sprung

Iowa State University senior Tom Calgaard, walks in the snow to Howe Hall on campus Monday, March, 15, 2004 in Ames, Iowa.
AP
Green is traditional for St. Patrick's Day, but this year, there is plenty of white: snow, over a foot in some areas, which began falling Tuesday and is continuing in many parts of the Midwest and Northeast.

A late-winter snowstorm blew out of the Midwest and into the Northeast on Tuesday, making driving treacherous and closing schools just four days before the start of spring.

Up to ten inches of snow was expected to be on the ground by Wednesday morning in parts of Ohio, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, with only slightly less in neighboring New Jersey. A foot of snow is possible in upstate New York and Massachusetts.

Wet roads were blamed for numerous highway crashes, including separate accidents that killed two people in Pennsylvania. Ohio police were investigating whether snow contributed to a crash that killed two other people when their car swerved into the path of a truck near Akron.

At least one power outage is reported - in Coventry, Ct., where 2,700 homes and businesses are without electricity.

As the storm was gathering strength, a record 18 inches fell Monday around Sioux City, Iowa. Illinois, Indiana and Michigan also picked up a few inches.

Dayton, Ohio, had about 7 inches by late afternoon. The weather forced the closure of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to all but essential personnel. About 22,000 people work at the base.

Hundreds of Ohio schools canceled classes, and several districts closed early in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut as roads became wet and slippery.

While some were discouraged at getting out their snow boots one more time, others were stoic.

"We're used to getting snow this time of year. This is no surprise," said Dave Lelko, city manager of Chardon, Ohio, which typically gets about 104 inches of snow each winter.

This winter, Chardon's already had over 116 inches.

Robert Bogan, who was filling his tank at a gas station in the Albany, N.Y., suburb of Colonie, was pleased by the fast-falling snow.

"I think it's absolutely wonderful. This is why I live in the Northeast," said Bogan, 62.

"I'm tired of this," Peg Woods, who runs a gift shop in Newton, N.J. "I just put my snow shovel away the other day."

"When we had those few warm days, I was really looking forward to spring being here," said Peter DeFelice, owner of the Flower Box florist shop in Sparta, N.J. "But if it's going to snow, then let it snow big. A lot of people are kind of excited about it here, looking forward to a snow day. At least my kids are."

In New York City, Laura Davis, a visitor from Perry, Ga., shivered in a denim jacket and turtleneck in front of store featuring mannequins in strapless dresses and short skirts.

"This is going to make shopping more difficult," she said.

James Taylor in New York City told CBS News' Amanda O'Donnell the snow is fine, as long as it's gone in time. "Come opening day at the Stadium, yeah, we need it nice, no snow," the Yankees fan said.

Newark had nearly five and a half inches of snow before it turned to rain Tuesday night. Flights at the city's airport were delayed by up to 90 minutes, and more than 100 flights were canceled.

The snow also delayed the Seton Hall basketball team's trip to the NCAA tournament after Tuesday's flight was canceled. The team plans to leave Wednesday and make it in time for its game Thursday.

Ohio's Bowling Green State University baseball team - just back from nine days in Florida - canceled Tuesday's home opener because of sideways-blowing snow and wind gusting to 35 mph.

The snow is expected to reach Maine Wednesday, where ski areas welcome it more for the psychological effect than for any additional cover on their slopes.

"Once you get into this month with milder stretches and people are out starting to focus on other activities - jogging, shopping, thinking about golfing or hiking - it's hard to keep skiing on their minds," said Susan DuPlessis, spokeswoman for the Sunday River ski resort near Bethel, Maine.