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Surprise Snow For Southeast

At this time of year, Gerald White is used to selling plant seeds and other gardening supplies, but his customers had something else in mind when Kentucky and Tennessee were hit by unexpected snowfall.

The garden center was quiet, but there was plenty of demand for winter items, said White, the manager of a Wal-Mart in Hopkinsville, Ky.

"We don't have any coats left. Some people were looking for snow boots and weatherproof shoe covers. Probably could have sold some heaters if I'd had some," he said Tuesday.

One to 3 inches of snow fell west of Louisville, Ky., while several counties along the Ohio River were hit with sleet. More than 4 inches of snow fell parts of western Tennessee, and Memphis and Nashville also reported a few flurries and some sleet.

More than 2 inches of rain fell on parts of West Virginia, and flooding and mudslides blocked roads and closed schools across the state. Parts of Pennsylvania had up to 3 inches of rain over two days, and rain also soaked parts of Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and New York.

"We got water, you want to buy some?" said Pat Heaster of emergency services in Doddridge County, W.Va.

At least eight deaths were blamed on the storm.

Meteorologists said the snow, mostly due to freezing temperatures at ground level, took them by surprise.

"We underestimated it," said Nashville meteorologist Henry Steigerwaldt.

"I've lived a long time, and I don't think I've seen a winter day in April," said Ruth Knight, a secretary for the Hopkinsville, Ky., Police Department.

Corey Thompson, 16, waited 45 minutes in downtown Louisville, Ky., for a bus to take him home.

"I didn't come prepared," Thompson said, wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a lightweight jacket. "I thought it was going to rain in the morning and be done in the afternoon."

On Wednesday, more rain and snow showers were scattered across the eastern Ohio and Tennessee river valleys and the central Appalachians into Virginia and North Carolina.

Six people were killed Tuesday and Wednesday in traffic accidents on slick roads in Kentucky, including a woman and her two children killed when the van she was driving skidded into the path of a truck.

One man died Wednesday in southwestern Pennsylvania when high water swept him away after his pickup stalled on a rural road. Another man was killed in the area Tuesday by a utility pole that toppled on a rain-softened hillside.

At Beckley, W.Va., a girl was rescued after her car was nearly submerged in 4 feet of water, witnesses said.

By Brett Barrouquere