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Storm disrupts flights, schools in eastern U.S.

  • Winter-Weather-27

    A lone pedestrian pulls a bag while crossing Market Street in downtown Philadelphia as light snow falls Tuesday Jan. 21, 2014. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Tuesday's storm with public schools closed in parts of central Pennsylvania and elsewhere while Philadelphia public schools are dismissing classes early. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

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  • Winter-Weather-NYC

    Early snowfall blankets ongoing construction of a platform for a twin tower hi-rise project, covering the Penn Station rail tracks today in New York. Weather forecast calls for snow through mid-afternoon with temperatures steady in the low 20s.

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  • Winter-Weather-28

    A woman pulls a cart as she walks across the street covered with snow today in Jersey City, N.J. A storm is expected to hit the northern New Jersey region throughout the day.

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  • Christie-Inauguration-Winter-Storm

    Sideways snow cuts the visibility of Ellis Island, top, seen from Liberty State Park, as a storm moves into the region, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Jersey City, N.J. Ellis Island was set tho host New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's inauguration party, but hazardous conditions are expected, forcing the party to be canceled. Celebrations to mark the start of Christie's second term could be tempered by investigations into traffic tie-ups that appear to have been ordered by his staff for political retribution and an allegation that his administration linked Superstorm Sandy aid to approval for a real estate project. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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  • Winter-Weather-Ohio-1

    A pedestrian walks in the middle of a road to avoid snow covered sidewalks Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati area received around three to five inches of snow. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

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  • Winter-Weather-29

    Greg Spadavecchia jogs as snow starts to fall in Morris Plains, N.J. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. A storm is expected to hit the northern New Jersey region throughout the day. Because of hazardous driving conditions New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's inauguration party at Ellis Island was cancelled. (AP Photo/The Daily Record, Bob Karp ) NO SALES

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  • Winter-Weather-30

    A man walks on a snow covered street, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Jersey City, N.J. A storm is expected to hit the northern New Jersey region throughout the day. Because of hazardous driving conditions New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's inauguration party at Ellis Island was cancelled. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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  • Winter-Weather-31

    A woman pulls a cart as she walks across the street covered with snow, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Jersey City, N.J. A storm is expected to hit the northern New Jersey region throughout the day. Because of hazardous driving conditions New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's inauguration party at Ellis Island was cancelled. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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Winter-Weather-28

A woman pulls a cart as she walks across the street covered with snow today in Jersey City, N.J. A storm is expected to hit the northern New Jersey region throughout the day.

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PHILADELPHIA — Thousands of flights were canceled, students got an extra day off from school or were being sent home early, and the federal government closed its offices in the Washington area today as another winter storm bore down on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

The National Weather Service said the storm could bring 10 to 14 inches of snow to Philadelphia and southern New England and up to a foot in New York City, to be followed by bitter cold. An arctic air mass will plunge the eastern half of the United States into a deep freeze, with wind chills as low as 40 degrees below zero, the weather service said.

It warned of heavy winds and hazardous driving conditions as the storm moved up the East Coast.

With federal workers told to stay home today, Tom Ripley, who works at a Washington hardware store, said his morning commute was cut in half because “there was almost no one on the road.”

He said the store was jammed Monday as customers stocked up on ice melt and shovels.

“Nobody prepares because we never get any snow, so the slightest chance of it, everybody freaks out,” Ripley said.

Nearly 2,200 flights were canceled and thousands more delayed today, with airports from Washington to Boston affected, according to flight-tracking site Flightaware.com. An additional 450 flights for Wednesday were already canceled.

Schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky stayed closed for an extra day after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, or planned to send students home early. Some parents kept their kids home even if their schools were open, unwilling to put them on slippery roads.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was forced to modify his schedule of inaugural events — canceling an evening party on Ellis Island — because there was fear snow would make travel dangerous. Both chambers of Delaware’s General Assembly canceled sessions as the storm approached.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reduced speeds on interstates and other major roads, and said it had already blown through more than half of its $189 million winter weather budget.

“Lots of nuisance storms this season have meant that PennDOT crews have been plowing and treating roads more frequently this winter,” agency spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said.

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