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The latest in a series of nasty winter storms socked the nation today. It rolled north through the mid-Atlantic this morning, right up the East Coast bringing freezing rain, heavy snow and plummeting temperatures. More than 2,900 flights were cancelled today and more than 7,100 were delayed. The federal government and many schools and offices also shut down.
NPR's Allison Keyes reports, for many in the nation's capital, spring can't come fast enough.
ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: Joseph Harper was bent nearly double maneuvering a huge shovel full of snow along the ground and over to the curb on the nearly empty street in front of a Marriott Hotel in Washington D.C. He was not smiling.
JOSEPH HARPER: Just a little too much fun today.
KEYES: He's ready for the snow to stop.
HARPER: Can't keep up with it.
KEYES: Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray declared a snow emergency in this city that's dealing with its 25th weather event since November 1st. He asked people not to drive today so workers could clear the streets.
MAYOR VINCENT GRAY: We have now out on the streets somewhere around 287 pieces of equipment that are working to plow to get the snow off the street.
KEYES: The storm is also wreaking havoc with air travelers, with thousands of flights delayed or cancelled, says FlightAware.com's CEO Daniel Baker.
DANIEL BAKER: Flight cancellations are stacking up all the way from the D.C. area on up to New England.
KEYES: States of emergency were also declared in Virginia, New Jersey, Mississippi, Delaware and Tennessee, where the roads are slippery and treacherous. In Nashville, maintenance worker Benny Sosa sat with a co-worker in a van outside of their warehouse; worried how to get to their next assignment on the sketchy streets.
BENNY SOSA: Until something slows down, it's going to be tough getting everywhere.
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KEYES: Outside of Washington D.C.'s historic Willard Hotel, Jose Diaz was braving the slushy streets in his delivery truck.
JOSE DIAZ: I got to work. I got bills to pay.
KEYES: But he admits driving is a bit of a challenge even though there's almost no traffic.
DIAZ: It's bad really bad, really bad, really bad.
KEYES: But Diaz says the pastries he's carrying must be delivered.
DIAZ: Yeah, I wish I didn't have to wish I could take them home and eat them all myself.
KEYES: But he might want to pop them into an oven. The National Weather Service says temperatures will be dropping into the teens rather than the normal 50 or so degrees for this time of year, as a cold front takes hold from the Great Plains to the Atlantic Coast.
Allison Keyes, NPR News, Washington.
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