Winter's Last Hurrah? Temps plunge, flights canceled, snow builds again
More than 600 flights canceled Thursday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. On Thursday morning, parts of Kentucky saw more than 20 inches of snowfall overnight — and it was still coming down.
Much of the South was forecast to see temperatures drop 30 to 45 degrees in a 24-hour period thanks to yet another arctic cold front.
Some locations may see their coldest temperatures ever recorded so late in the season, including Nashville and Louisville, Kentucky, where temperatures could drop into the single digits. On Thursday morning, parts of Kentucky saw more than 20 inches of snowfall overnight — and it was still coming down.
Farther north, Maryland, New Jersey and other states also had snow. In the nation's capital, nonemergency federal workers were told to stay home. Some state offices and legislatures also closed in the South and Northeast.
Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center, said the storm "might be winter's last hurrah." Alex Sosnowski of AccuWeather said the storm could be winter's "caboose."
After the storm and possibly some cold days into the weekend, the next couple of weeks should be considerably warmer for a large chunk of the country, Halpert said.
In Texas, thousands of students were staying home from school Thursday after a late winter storm dumped up to 7 inches of snow, making roads icy and leading to the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
Flightaware.com reports more than 600 flights canceled Thursday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, which received 3.5 inches of snow. As many as 600 travelers were stranded at the airport overnight, airport spokesman David Magana said.
Schools in Wichita Falls, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Denton and Austin canceled classes. The University of Texas at Austin delayed opening until 1 p.m.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Dallas-Fort Worth area until midday. Sunny skies broke through Thursday morning, with temperatures expected in the mid-30s by afternoon as the system moves on.
"The snow has now moved into far East Texas and into Louisiana and Arkansas," said Jesse Moore, a forecaster with the weather service in Fort Worth, adding that temperatures will warm as the day progresses.
High temperatures usually average in the mid-60s in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in early March, Moore said. The system plunged temperatures into the 20s before dawn Thursday after a night of freezing rain that turned tosnow, dropping 2-4 inches.
Grapevine, just west of Dallas, had the most snow for the area, recording 7 inches, Moore said.
Austin had freezing rain, which can be treacherous for drivers, Moore said.
"All it takes is a light coating on surfaces to cause problems," Moore said.
Fort Hood, one of the nation's largest Army posts, reported scattered power outages due to weather including lightning. All power was restored by Thursday morning, according to a statement from the Central Texas installation.
Some Bostonians were clamoring for a little more snow to break a record.
This winter, the city has received 105.5 inches of snow — more than 8 1/2 feet, the National Weather Service said. The record is 107.6 inches recorded during the 1995-96 season. Records date to 1872.
Having endured weeks of misery, residents such as Erin O'Brien insist they deserve bragging rights — otherwise, what was the point of repeatedly digging out?
"I want the record. We earned the record," said O'Brien, a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.
Others don't care about the record. Amy Ouellette, a marketing associate in Salem, north of Boston, just wants spring to melt it all away.
But there was some good news coming out of the snow.
The weather forecast got Congress going and produced rare bipartisan agreements in the House and Senate to finish business early and get out of town.
Senate leaders set the last vote of the week for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. But that wasn't good enough for Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.
"Is there any way you could change that to 2:20 from 2:30?" Inhofe asked on the Senate floor. "There are four people who can't make planes, otherwise."
He was accommodated.