Jeffrey Colon carries his shovel across a bridge to help friends shovel out during a winter storm in Lawrence, Mass. Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Winter went out with a blast in the Northeast on Tuesday, snow and sleet delaying the start of school in some areas and making the morning commute an icy, slippery mess a day before spring starts. The nasty weather led some schools in upstate New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut to close, adding a few more snow days to school calendars. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
BOSTON (AP) — Winter went out with a blast in the Northeast on Tuesday, snow and sleet closing schools in some areas and making roads an icy, slippery mess a day before spring starts.
Storm-weary commuters were hoping this would be the last snowstorm until next winter.
"I'm ready for spring," said Claudia Staten, of Kingston, who called the four inches on the ground in her hometown "nuisance snow."
"November, December and January were fine. It was a tease because winter has been here for the last six weeks," said Staten, who took a train to work Tuesday to her job as a public service manager for the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Schools in upstate New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut were closed, adding a few more snow days to school calendars.
The treacherous roads led to accidents around the region. In Massachusetts, a bus carrying the Harlem Globetrotters was involved in what appears to be a weather-related crash, but no one was hurt and the bus was able to drive away, the Massachusetts State Police said.
The winter storm that started overnight Monday and early Tuesday might even continue into Tuesday night for northern areas. Snow covered newly bare patches of ground and forced people to gas up their snow blowers again on the last day of winter.
Nina Walker, of Woburn, said she had to shovel about eight inches of snow in her driveway before driving to Boston's South Station so she can take a train to New York. She said as a lifelong New Englander, she takes the snow in stride, but draws the line at storms after March 31.
"Once I hear the word April, I am really offended when I hear the word snow," she said. "So this is OK today, but a couple of weeks from now, it had better not happen."
Some were welcoming the forecast, as the coming storm looked to extend the ski season. Just a year ago this week, local temperatures hit the 80s, prompting skiers in Maine to strip down to shorts and bikini tops and forcing an end to the season at many mountains.
The snow provided New York's ski area operators with a major boost in business that was in stark contrast to last year's conditions in March, when record-setting warmth closed most slopes well before St. Patrick's Day.
"It's fantastic. What a difference a year makes," said Sue Parker, spokeswoman for Ski West Mountain in Queensbury, in the Adirondack foothills 50 miles north of Albany.
The forecasts called for as much as 20 inches of snow in parts of northern New England, with lesser amounts mixed with sleet further south. Boston and Providence, R.I., could each get 4-8 inches, and Hartford, Conn., 4-8 inches of snow and sleet. Portland, Maine, could get at least a foot of snow. Montpelier, Vt., was expecting at least 10 to 18 inches, and Concord, N.H., 7 to 13 inches. But those totals could go much higher if the storm continues into Tuesday night.
School cancellations Tuesday led Massachusetts officials to postpone the English composition section of its standardized state test until next Monday, to keep all schools on the same test date.
After a storm earlier this month dumped over a foot of snow in some areas and caused coastal flooding in Massachusetts, some New Englanders weren't looking forward to more winter weather.
Judy Andonian, 67, of Manchester-by-the-Sea, was dropping off mail at the post office in Wenham on Tuesday morning.
She had recently moved back to Massachusetts from Arkansas to be closer to her grandchildren.
"Now I am back in the trenches," she said, adding she is holding out hope that this is the last snow of the season. "I want this to be over."
Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Boston; Clarke Canfield in Portland, Maine; Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, VT., and Morgan True in Concord, N.H., contributed to this report.