New York, NY, Jan. 25 (AP by Paul Nowell)--A powerful winter storm churned up the East Coast today after battering the Southeast with ice and more than a foot of snow, leaving tens of thousands of people without power.
Snow fell heavily around New York City during the morning commute and up to 8 inches were forecast to fall across New England by tonight. The storm arrived with wind gusting to 30 mph, making it feel well below zero from New Jersey to New England.
As much as 7 inches of snow were predicted for Virginia and the Washington suburbs. Schools and businesses were closed and travel disrupted across the region. Some airports, including New York's LaGuardia and Washington Reagan National Airport, were closed.
``People kept saying 'We haven't had winter, we (haven't had) winter,''' said Richard Jones, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Raleigh, N.C. ``I guess this will show them.''
In Washington, most federal agencies were shut down. Even Andrews Air Force Base, Md., told nonessential workers to stay home.
Tiny Buffalo, S.C., seemed more like Buffalo, N.Y., after the storm dumped more than a foot of snow.
``It's just like a Christmas card,'' said Clorise Duncan, a retiree who spent Monday afternoon watching the powdery flakes coat her lawn. ``It's a pure sheet of snow, and it's just so pretty, so pretty.''
Cynthia Vanderford, whose family had no power most of the day, said she spent her time ``wishing the snow would stop.''
More than 200,000 customers in North and South Carolina were without power early today. In northeast Alabama, 12,000 people remained without power from an ice storm that hit Saturday.
In Atlanta, about 70,000 customers were still without electricity today after the weekend ice storm left approximately 500,000 powerless. Energy companies say it may take a few more days to restore power to everyone.
Schools were closed again today in Atlanta and a preliminary statewide damage estimate stood at $25 million.
In the West, the biggest winter storm of the season lingered across the Sierra Nevada after dumping more than 3 feet of snow. Storm warnings were issued for western Nevada and the Lake Tahoe region.
``We are very happy. We'll be 100 percent open by (today),'' said Monica Bandows, spokeswoman for Heavenly Ski Resort on the south shore of Lake Tahoe.
Six-year-old James Carbia was waiting for the snow to end so he can get back to his first-grade class at General Greene Elementary in Greensboro, N.C.
Carbia made a snowman, threw snowballs with the other kids, read his favorite book and even talked his dad into making up math questions for him.
``I've done the last thing I could think of doing, and I'm starting to get bored,'' he said.
Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press