A powerful winter storm brought snow to inland parts of the Northeast and driving rain and wind to areas along the coast Thursday, a day after it swept through the nation's middle, dumping a record snowfall in Arkansas and wrecking post-holiday plans for thousands of travelers.
The storm, which was blamed for 15 deaths, pushed through the Upper Ohio Valley and made its way into the Northeast Wednesday night. By Thursday morning, there was anywhere from a few inches of snow to a foot in some locations.
National Weather Service spokesman David Roth said the Northeast's heaviest snowfall would be in northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and inland sections of several New England states before the storm ended Friday morning and headed to Canada.
Dale Lamprey, who was clearing off the sidewalk outside the legislative office building in Concord, N.H., already had several hours of shoveling under his belt by 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
"I got here at quarter of five and it's been windy, it's been snowing and I think it changed over to sleet and freezing rain at one point," he said. "It's pretty bad."
He didn't expect it to get much better.
"I'm going to be shoveling all day, just trying to keep up with the snow," he said. "Which is impossible."
The East Coast's largest cities - New York, Philadelphia and Boston - were seeing mostly high winds and rain Thursday morning. Other areas were getting a messy mix of rain and snow or just rain - enough to slow down commuters and those still heading home from visits with family.
Thousands of travelers were trying to make it home Thursday after the fierce storm stranded them at airports or relatives' homes around the region. Some inbound flights were delayed in Philadelphia and New York's LaGuardia, but the wet and windy weather wasn't leading to delays at other major East Coast airports.
On New York's Long Island, a Southwest Airlines jet bound for Tampa, Fla., veered off a taxiway and got stuck in mud Thursday morning. Officials said there were no injuries to the 129 passengers and five crew members, who were expected to take a later flight. Though the area received heavy rain overnight, Southwest spokesman Paul Flanigan said it wasn't clear whether that played a role in the incident.
In Pittsburgh, a flight that landed safely during the storm Wednesday night got stuck in snow for about two hours on the tarmac. The American Airlines flight arrived between 8 and 9 p.m., but then ran over a snow patch and got stuck.
Airport spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette workers tried for nearly two hours to tow the plane to the gate before deciding to bus passengers to the terminal.
Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed on Wednesday and scores of motorists got stuck on icy roads or slid into drifts. Said John Kwiatkowski, an Indianapolis-based meteorologist with the weather service: "The way I've been describing it is as a low-end blizzard, but that's sort of like saying a small Tyrannosaurus rex."
Kentucky State Police said the storm contributed to two fatal crashes Wednesday. And a New York man was killed after his pickup truck skidded on an icy road in northwest Pennsylvania, also on Wednesday.
The storm system spawned Gulf Coast region tornadoes on Christmas Day, startling people like Bob and Sherry Sims of Mobile, Alabama, who'd just finished dinner.