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Storm blankets Northeast with snow

2PHILADELPHIA — A weekend storm blanketed the Northeast with a few inches of snow Saturday, just the second significant snowfall of the season for many in the region, including Philadelphia and New York City.

The National Weather Service predicted 4 to 6 inches would fall in New York City as part of the quick-moving storm, expected to move out to sea overnight. Early Saturday morning, flurries and freezing rain showers fell in the Washington area. Most of eastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, and central New Jersey saw about 4 inches of snow, with a few places reporting up to 6 inches.

Up to 10 inches was predicted for southeastern Massachusetts, noteworthy in a season marked by a lack of snow throughout the Northeast, aside from a rare October snowstorm that knocked out power to nearly 3 million homes and businesses in the region.

"We've been very lucky, so we can't complain," said Gloria Fernandez of New York City, as she shoveled the sidewalk outside her workplace. "It's nice, it's fluffy and it's on the weekend," she said of the snow.

Road conditions were fair Saturday, officials said. Crews in Pennsylvania and New Jersey began salting roads around midnight and plowing soon after. By midmorning, the snow had turned to sleet in Philadelphia north through central New Jersey and had stopped falling altogether by early afternoon.

"It's a fairly moderate snowstorm, at best," said weather service forecaster Bruce Sullivan.

Few accidents were reported on the roads, helped by the weekend's lack of rush hour traffic, but New Jersey transportation spokesman Joe Dee cautioned drivers to build in more time for trips. Though temperatures will warm up this afternoon he said, forecasters expect the wet ground to freeze again overnight.

Flights arriving at Philadelphia Airport were delayed up to two hours because of snow and ice accumulation, but most departing flights were leaving on time, a spokeswoman said.

New York City had 1,500 snow plows at the ready, each equipped with global positioning systems that will allow supervisors to see their approximate location on command maps updated every 30 seconds, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a morning news conference.

The equipment was installed last year following a disaster of a storm that struck the day after Christmas of 2010, when even the city's plows were stuck and stranded in drifts, and streets remained impassable for days. Bloomberg said the GPS system has already led to "vastly improved communication" between supervisors and plow operators.

In Connecticut, where the October storm had its biggest impact and some were without power for more than a week, about 6 inches of snow was forecast. State police had responded to dozens of accidents by midmorning but said none appeared to be serious.

As always, some welcomed the snow.

Enough accumulated through the week for snowmobiling and ice fishing in New Hampshire, where cross-country ski trails and snowshoeing were open at Bretton Woods and other trails.