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Winter ignoring spring's expected arrival

March 19, 2013 at 10:17 AM   |   Comments

BOSTON, March 19 (UPI) -- The calendar may say spring is near, but parts of the United States saw winter thumbing its nose at the calendar, sending in a snowy, arctic blast.

A storm system brought forecasts of double-digit snow amounts for the mountains of New England and rain elsewhere Tuesday, CNN reported.

In Boston, the forecast called for 3- to 6 inches of snow and sleet, followed by rain Tuesday.

Boston's mayor called on city commuters to use public transportation when possible to keep streets clear for public work crews.

Low visibility Monday prompted delays of at least an hour at the three major airports in the New York area.

Spring starts Wednesday.

Parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas were socked by blizzard conditions throughout the day Monday as surface temperatures in some areas barely reached the teens.

Tuesday's forecast for some areas of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan wasn't much better, with up to 5 inches of snow expected, along with blustery winds.

In North Dakota, the Transportation Department issued a no-travel advisory for the eastern half of the state, saying visibility was nearly zero in some areas because of blowing snow, and a significant amount of ice was on the highways and streets.

KXJB-TV, Fargo, N.D., reported three highways in west-central Minnesota were closed because of blowing and drifting snow.

In the South, rain fell and tornadoes were reported, CNN reported.

A tornado touched down Monday afternoon in Rutherford County near Nashville, county officials said, covering about 4 1/2 miles on the ground.

Joe Gourley, with the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency, said a tornado damaged about a dozen homes and knocked down trees.

Nearby, middle school students were evacuated after lightning struck the school and sparked a roof fire, WTVF-TV, Nashville, reported.

The rains associated with the system brought relief for firefighters battling a 260-acre wildfire near the east Tennessee mountain resort town of Pigeon Forge, CNN reported. Only five acres were burned late Monday.

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