Storm socks mid-Atlantic region

Thursday, December 12, 2002

NEW YORK -- The second ice storm in a week knocked out power and snarled air travel Wednesday in the mid-Atlantic states.

Freezing rain and slush spread northward from Virginia into New York state, followed by rising temperatures. The National Weather Service issued winter advisories for the New England states.

"It's terrible. Right now it's just freezing rain so all the streets are icy," said patrolman Steve Brundage in Binghamton, N.Y.

Dozens of New York schools dismissed classes around midday as the freezing rain and sleet moved in. Earlier, schools were closed in parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. A few schools also closed in southern sections of Ohio and Indiana.

Ice up to a half-inch thick was reported in parts of western Maryland during the morning and by afternoon in northwestern New Jersey.

"Most people are staying home," said Maryland State Police Cpl. David Paskowski.

In the Washington area, Delta Airlines canceled most of its morning flights at Dulles International Airport, and Atlantic Coast Airlines, which operates the United Express Shuttle, canceled about a third of its flights before 7:30 a.m., according to Airports Authority spokesman Tom Sullivan.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport had numerous delays and cancelations, said spokeswoman Melanie Miller.

Utilities in Maryland said the ice cut electrical service to more than 38,000 homes and businesses across the central and western parts of the state.

About 24,000 customers in northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley had no electricity by midmorning, Dominion Virginia Power spokesman David Botkins said.

In North Carolina, meanwhile, Duke Power said Wednesday it still had 127,000 customers without power because of last week's ice storm, down from a peak of nearly 1.3 million. The company said it hoped to have all customers back on line by Saturday.

Carolina Power & Light said it had 7,220 customers still in the dark Wednesday afternoon, down from a peak of 464,000.

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