Fast-moving snowstorm hits Northeast

Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:39pm EST

1 of 8. A man cleans the street during a snow storm in Jersey City January 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

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(Reuters) - After an unusually mild winter across much of the United States, a fast-moving snowstorm struck the Northeast from central Pennsylvania to Connecticut on Saturday, while the Pacific Northwest struggled to recover from a rare heavy snowfall.

The moderate Northeast storm stood in contrast to the heavy snows of last winter, which included a post-Christmas blizzard that dumped 20 inches on New York City.

"We haven't missed it, but it's been noticeably absent," Victoria Lupica, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia International Airport, said of the snow. Her airport had 66 canceled flights on Saturday morning.

Snowfall totals were expected to reach 3 to 5 inches in New York City, 2 to 4 inches in Philadelphia and up to 3 inches in Boston. The nation's capital, Washington, got a mixture of snow and ice overnight.

For many areas away from the Great Lakes, the storm was expected to amount to the heaviest snowfall since late October, according to weather.com.

At La Guardia International Airport in New York, travelers were advised to check with their airlines to see which flights were affected by weather-related delays, the airport's website said.

The Pacific Northwest was enduring the aftermath of an unusually snowy week, with two hikers and two climbers still missing in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state.

About 205,000 homes and businesses, mostly south of Seattle,

remained without power, Puget Sound Energy said on its website. Flooding remained a concern as temperatures rose into the lower 40s (4 C).

Heavy snow was predicted for mountain areas of the Western states.

In parts of South Carolina, voters in the Republican presidential primary were seeing rain, thunderstorms and even tornado watches and warnings on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

A snowfall in Chicago on Friday brought up to 8 inches and prompted the cancellation of more than 700 flights at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports.

Thunderstorms, some with hail, were predicted for the Southeastern United States, with damaging wind gusts and tornadoes possible across the lower Mississippi Valley, according to weather.com.

(Reporting By Mary Wisniewski in Chicago and Laura Myers in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)

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