US winter snow storm pushes north

A powerful winter storm blamed for 15 deaths in other parts of the US is bringing rain to southern New England and snow further north, but the region has been largely spared the pounding that other states took.

The storm pushed through the Upper Ohio Valley and made its way into the north-east, leaving up to a foot of snow in some locations by this morning.

By noon, the downpours had stopped in parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, though rain continued in Massachusetts and snow continued to fall in upstate New York, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

Other areas were getting a messy mix of rain and snow or just rain – enough to slow down commuters and those still heading home from holiday visits with family.

Thousands of travellers were trying to make it home today after the fierce storm stranded them at airports or relatives’ homes around the region. Some inbound flights were delayed in Philadelphia and New York’s LaGuardia, but the wet and windy weather wasn’t leading to delays at other major East Coast airports.

On New York’s Long Island, a Southwest Airlines jet bound for Tampa, Florida, veered off a taxiway and got stuck in mud this morning. Officials said there were no injuries to the 129 passengers and five crew members, who were expected to take a later flight. Though the area received heavy rain overnight, Southwest spokesman Paul Flanigan said it was not clear whether that played a role in the incident.

In Pittsburgh, a flight that landed safely during the storm last night got stuck in snow for about two hours on the tarmac. The American Airlines flight arrived between 8 and 9 pm, but then ran over a snow patch and got stuck.

Airport spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette workers tried for nearly two hours to tow the plane to the gate before deciding to bus passengers to the terminal.

People were killed in accidents in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and homes in businesses in Arkansas and Maryland were without power.

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