Winter storm blasts U.S. mid-Atlantic days before spring

March 17 Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:39am EDT

March 17 (Reuters) - A winter storm landed a final punch on the U.S. mid-Atlantic states on Monday just days before spring begins, dumping more than a foot (30 cm) of snow in some places, shutting schools and federal offices and cancelling flights.

Traditional green worn on St. Patrick's Day was hidden under the winter coats of children enjoying one more sledding day and of road crews manning plows days ahead of the official start of spring on Thursday.

"Hardest hit was the Washington, D.C., area," said meteorologist Brian Korty of the National Weather Service.

He said a few snow flurries would linger until the afternoon, but the storm that hit Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and southern New Jersey had largely moved out to sea.

The highest snowfall recorded was 13.5 inches (34 cm) in Singers Glen, Virginia, about 130 miles (209 km) west of Washington, D.C., Korty said.

Snow and ice snarled travel at the start of the work week, with the most severe impact at Reagan National Airport, where runways were "closed due to heavy accumulation and blowing snow," according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority website.

The winter storm shut down federal offices in the nation's capital, and dozens of schools in the area also remained closed. (Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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