Winter storm hits East, disrupts Super Bowl travel

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

Fat, wet flakes were falling Monday afternoon and could total 8 inches in Philadelphia and New York, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of Maryland, West Virginia and southern Ohio expected as much as 10 inches of snow. The mercury had soared into the 50s in the region on Sunday but was back down in the 30s a day later.

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, arrived at Newark Airport at 6 a.m. Monday to find his flight home had been canceled. Wearing a Seahawks championship hat and an ear-to-ear smile, he said he didn’t care about the cancellation or the weather in light of Seattle’s victory. He planned to spend an extra night at his hotel in New York.

“The night will be very short,” Emond said. “When you win a Super Bowl for the first time, the night is very, very short.”

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

In Connecticut, 71-year-old architect Frank Emery described messy conditions outside as he stopped at a coffee shop in New Haven.

“A lot of people must have called in sick after the Super Bowl,” he said. “It’s not cleaned up as well as usual.”

In Philadelphia, the airport experienced delays as long as four hours at one point Monday morning because of snow and ice. But the flight home for Seahawks fan George Shiley, 50, of Snohomish, Wash., remained on schedule at midday.

Shiley, a Seattle season ticket holder, had won a lottery for Super Bowl tickets. He and his buddy stayed in Philadelphia, about 85 miles southwest of the stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

“It’s been a great trip. I joked that ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ — and it was, until today,” said Shiley, referring to the FX sitcom.

Forecasters expected the snow to taper off in the 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.

There’s also a possibility for a storm this weekend, Szatkowski said.

“I like to say Punxsutawney Phil agrees with me,” he said. “Winter’s not over, that’s for sure.”

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