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Two-Headed Winter Monster

Highways and sidewalks turned treacherous Saturday for the millions of people living in the Northeast as the area's first big storm of the season piled up nearly a foot of blowing snow, grounding flights, cutting into holiday shopping and postponing SAT college exams.

At least eight deaths were blamed on the storm.

Snow fell at a rate of about an inch hour Saturday morning at Binghamton, N.Y., and the National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for parts of Maine, Connecticut, southeastern New York and New Jersey.

Forecasters warned that as much as 2 feet of snow was possible by Sunday in parts of Massachusetts and Vermont. A foot of snow already had fallen by midday Saturday in western Maryland, with 9.5 inches in northern New Jersey and 7 inches in Pittsburgh and Providence, R.I.

"What we're seeing now is the tip of the iceberg," meteorologist Roger Hill of Worcester, Vt., said Saturday morning. "The beast is going to be here shortly."

Forecasters say this double-barrel storm should punch itself out by Sunday, and this snow is not necessarily a signal of a rough winter, according to CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr

The snow was too deep for some of man's best friends.

In Swampscott, Mass., Phil MacLaughlin said it wasn't easy walking his Chihuahua, El Jefe, because the snow was almost as deep as El Jefe was high. "He won't go in the snow because he'd be snout deep," MacLaughlin said.

The first wave of snow struck Friday, and by Saturday highways were coated with layers of snow and slush.

"The roads out there are really, really bad, very slippery," said Kory Kiser, 25, of North Windham, Conn., who in spite of the storm was at work as a contract cable TV installer.

Community and church groups canceled activities Saturday from Pennsylvania into Maine, and many school districts postponed SAT college entrance tests. High school football championships were postponed in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

"Hopefully people won't go out unless they have to. There will be other weekends to Christmas shop — this isn't the one," said Rhode Island State Police Sgt. Scott Hemingway.

Not all shoppers heeded the advice. Many jammed supermarkets to stock up on groceries. And Jeff Campbell, 36, of Hamden, Conn., braved the roads to buy his 15-month-old daughter, Paige, a sled.

"It's worth it," Campbell said. "This is the first time she will remember being in the snow."

Flights were delayed or canceled early Saturday at Boston's Logan International Airport, where wind gusted to 35 mph, airport officials said. Newark Liberty International Airport remained open but the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reported "many cancellations."

On Friday, Philadelphia and La Guardia airports both reported about 100 flight cancellations Friday, with 200 cancellations at Newark.

State highway departments had fleets of trucks plowing and spreading salt, but there already had been dozens of accidents.

The storm was blamed for at least six traffic deaths, including the driver of a van that collided with a school bus in Pennsylvania. None of the three dozen children on the bus was hurt. New Jersey and Virginia had two storm-related deaths each and one person was killed in Connecticut.

Coastal flood warnings were posted as the wind blew in from the ocean. A 3-foot storm surge was likely at Saturday night's high tide along the Massachusetts coast, state officials warned.

Off the coast, about 80 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, wind gusting up to 60 mph piled the water into 18-foot seas Saturday as the 72-foot trawler Miss Judith drifted with its engines disabled, the Coast Guard said. A ship would be sent to help the four-member crew when the weather permits, officials said.

The storm system's effects stretched as far as northern Florida, where the Panhandle town of Marianna chilled to a low of 33 degrees Saturday.

But in New England, ski areas cheered the storm.

"The snow is fantastic," said Peter Dee, marketing director for Bromley Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont. "The parking lots are full right now. It feels like a mid-winter weekend," said Mike Colbourn, vice president of marketing for Vermont's Stowe Mountain Resort.

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