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September 1, 2014

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Winter storm hits East, disrupts post-Super Bowl travel

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Matt York / AP

A snow plow clears the runway Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, NJ. Air traffic is disrupted in Ohio, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast as another winter storm bears down on the eastern U.S., only a day after temperatures soared into the 50s.

PHILADELPHIA — Another round of winter weather followed a day of unseasonable temperatures with several inches of snow in the eastern United States on Monday, closing schools, disrupting air traffic and snarling travel plans for people trying to return home from the Super Bowl in the New York area.

Fat, wet flakes were falling at midday Monday and could total 8 inches in Philadelphia and New York, along with temperatures in the 30s, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of Maryland and West Virginia were expecting as much as 10 inches of snow. Temperatures had soared into the 50s in the region on Sunday.

By midday, the flight-tracking website FlightAware reported nearly 2,000 delayed flights and 1,500 canceled flights nationwide in cities including Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., and New York. Inbound flights to Newark, LaGuardia and Kennedy airports were delayed two to three hours because of snow and ice.

For Russ Louderback, of Fishers, Ind., and his 11-year-old son Mason, the Super Bowl was a triple whammy of bad luck in less than 24 hours: Their beloved Denver Broncos lost, they got stuck in an hours-long traffic jam leaving the stadium and their 3 p.m. flight home Monday was canceled.

"It was so congested we couldn't get out of New Jersey, even though we left early because our team lost," said Louderback, 57, a hotel executive. He hopes to be on a plane Monday evening.

Francois Emond of Alma, Quebec, also had his flight home cancelled. But the fan of the victorious Seattle Seahawks said it was a dream trip and great game, and he didn't at all mind spending another night in New York City.

Schools closed in many districts in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Forecasters expected the snow to taper off by early afternoon. However, another storm is likely to hit the same region beginning Tuesday night, bringing a combination of rain, freezing rain and snow, said Gary Szatkowsi, a weather service meteorologist in Mount Holly, N.J.

Perhaps residents shouldn't be surprised, considering groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter on Sunday.

"I like to say Punxsutawney Phil agrees with me," Szatkowski said. "Winter's not over, that's for sure."

Associated Press writer Verena Dobnik in New York contributed to this report.

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