NEW YORK — Schools closed, governments sent workers home early and planes were grounded Wednesday in an all-too-familiar routine along the East Coast as another snowstorm swept over a region already beaten down by a winter not even half over.
‘‘I fell three times trying to get off the steps,’’ commuter Elliot Self said after leaving an elevated train in Philadelphia. ‘‘I just want the snow to stop. I want the sun again. I want to feel just a little bit of warmth.’’
Millions of people got that oh-no-not-again feeling as the wet and sloppy storm engulfed the Northeast, where snowbanks in some places were already so high that drivers couldn’t see around corners.
Classes were called off and commutes were snarled from Tennessee to New England as cars and buses slipped and slid on highways. The New York area’s airports, among the nation’s busiest, saw hundreds of delayed or canceled flights. Pedestrians struggled across icy patches that were on their way to becoming deep drifts.
Kentucky had half a foot of snow by Wednesday morning. Eight to 12 inches of snow was forecast for New York City, which had already seen 36 inches of snow this season in comparison with the full-winter average of 21 inches. New Jersey and Philadelphia could get up to 8 inches, and high winds are expected before the storm moves out early Thursday.
Since Dec. 14, snow has fallen eight times on the New York region — or an average of about once every five days. That includes the blizzard that dropped 20 inches on the city and paralyzed travel after Christmas.
Some places are running out of room to stash plowed snow.
Portsmouth, N.H., hauls its snow out to Peirce Island, but it was nearly full, with a huge mountain of the stuff.
‘‘We probably have a five-story snow dump right now,’’ said Portsmouth public works director David Allen. ‘‘It’s time to get a lift up on it and we could probably do a ski run.’’
For days, forecasters had been predicting rain, freezing rain or deep snow along the East Coast, but they weren’t quite sure who would get what. That unpredictability continued playing out as the storm swept from middle Appalachia into the Northeast.
In New Jersey, state workers were sent home early and schools closed as the storm brought more snow than anticipated Wednesday morning, with a second band of snow expected to deliver more in the evening.
In suburban Philadelphia’s Phoenixville, a delayed decision to call off classes angered parents when dozens of students got stranded at school. Eighty-seven buses had to be redirected to take students back home.
Parents and teachers in Tennessee were concerned about yet another day off from school Wednesday. Angela Wilburn, who teaches eighth grade at McMurray Middle School in Nashville, said students had missed eight days so far this year, pushing back her teaching schedule and making it hard to keep kids focused. She was worried about a writing test scheduled for February.