As much as 9 inches of wet snow hit the Northeast Thursday, complicating the holiday travel crunch, frosting the oversized balloons carried down Broadway in New York City's annual Macy's Thanksgiving parade and causing at least three deaths.
The storm tracked north along the East Coast Wednesday night and Thursday, dumping record amounts of snow for the day on cities in New England andthe mid-Atlantic Coast.
Atlantic City and Newark, N.J., got 6 inches each, and 4.7 inches fell in New York City, where snow fell on the holiday for the first time in 51 years, the National Weather Service said.
Philadelphia received 1.8 inches Wednesday night and 2.8 inches Thursday.
The storm dropped 4 inches of snow in the nation's capital and 5 in Baltimore, breaking no records but giving both cities a very white Thanksgiving.
The snow piled deeper outside major cities, accumulating to 7 inches in Solomons, Md., and on Long Island and to 8 inches in Mays Landing, N.J., just inland from Atlantic City.
Winter storm warnings in the Middle Atlantic states were all canceled during the morning, however, leaving most people plenty of time to dig out the car and get to their destinations in time for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
A few scattered fender benders on the state's roads were reported, but there were no major accidents or fatalities, police said.
New Englanders hauled out shovels and plows Thanksgiving Day as swirling snow canceled holiday high school football games and slickened highways clogged with hungry travelers.
Snow soaked Plymouth, Mass., as visitors toured the town where Pilgrims and Indians celebrated the first Thanksgiving.
'I am one wet Pilgrim right now,' said Troy Creane, who works as both a Pilgrim and a spokeswoman at Plimoth Plantation -- a 17th-century village that offers traditional costumes, meals and a replica of the Mayflower.
The storm caught weather forecasters by surprise. At least 1 inch of snow cloaked southern Maine and New Hampshire, while at least 4 inches fell on Boston and 8 inches on Cape Cod and Providence, R.I. Up to 9 inches was recorded at Nantucket, Mass.
'We expected this storm to run out further south then it did,' said NWS spokesman Walt Drag. 'It was a great snowstorm for those who love forecasters to be wrong.'
It was the heaviest Thanksgiving Day snowfall in Boston since at least 1925, he said.
Fender-benders were reported throughout New England. Light snow and icy conditions caused a multi-vehicle crash on hilly Route 126 in Strafford, N.H. The accident, involving at least three vehicles, injured several people and knocked down electric power lines on nearby Parker Mountain, police said.
Police in North Kingstown, R.I., blamed the snow for an accident that killed a Jamestown man. Thomas Jacquard, 18, was killed when his car crossed into the opposite lane of traffic on Route 4 and struck an oncoming vehicle.
The first significant snowfall of the season in the Washington, D.C., area sent a car spinning out of control and into the path of a van in suburban Fauquier County, Va., Wednesday night. Lucinda Fuerle, 44, and Allison Fuerle, 14, of Monroeville, Pa., -- apparently mother and daughter -- were killed, police said.
Sunshine spilled on much of the southern and central United States.
Afternoon temperatures were in the teens and single digits across much of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin as strong northerly winds ushered arctic air into the Great Lakes region and north central United States. Wind chills dipped to 20 below zero.
Temperatures were in the 30s and 40s in the central Plains and the middle Mississippi Valley; the 50s and 60s in the southern high Plains and the Gulf Coast; the 70s and 80s in Florida; and the 60s and 70s in Southern California and southern Arizona.