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Snow Storm Hits Northeast

February 17, 2003 at 12:00 AM EDT

SPENCER MICHELS: The blizzard stormed into the east from the Central Plains, causing mudslides in Tennessee, ice storms in Kentucky and power outages for more than 200,000 people in Ohio, the Carolinas and Kentucky.

In some locations, it was the worst storm since 1996.

The storm is now moving up the coast, dumping a foot half or more on New York city and Philadelphia and points in between. In Washington– now digging out from 16 inches — meteorologists called it one of the worst snowstorms in a century. Mayor Anthony Williams said it could take 3 days to clear the streets… that is if city workers can figure out where to dump all the snow. Today, presidents day, was already a day off for many. But even those scheduled to work were told to stay home. Some enjoyed the snow; others had to shovel.

Air travel was a nightmare: Reagan National Airport in D.C. was completely closed, as was Laguardia in New York. Washington -Dulles Airport operated at 5 percent capacity, with one runway open.

TOM SULLIVAN, Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority: This is a long term snowstorm. It could be Thursday before airlines get back to normal. SPENCER MICHELS: Military Humvees helped area hospitals bring in staffers as public officials pleaded for most other drivers to stay out of the way.

MARYLAND GOVERNOR BOB EHRLICH: We have too much discretionary driving. These drivers are interfering with emergency personnel, medical personnel and snow removal.

MARYLAND OFFICIAL: People are taking up a lot of resources which are very, very precious right now in a snowstorm with non-essential missions. The people that really need us, we’d like to get to them.

SPENCER MICHELS: To the north in New Jersey, the storm combined with high tides to cause coastal flooding and at least one building –a Rite Aide store –collapsed under the weight of the snow.

The governor declared a state of emergency today.

Late today in New England, Boston’s Logan reduced its capacity and snowfall intensified in the neighboring cities including Providence, Rhode Island.

The northeast will remain under a winter storm warning through tomorrow morning, when forecasters say the worst part of the storm will have passed into the Atlantic.