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Late winter storm blasts parts of US

A late winter storm has blasted the northeastern United States with high winds and snow that could pile up to 30cm high, sending temperatures plummeting and making travel hazardous after first taking aim at the Deep South.

The National Weather Service said 18 to 30 centimetres could be expected in northern areas of Pennsylvania and New York on Saturday with winds gusting as high as 72 kilometres per hour.

Philadelphia residents, while expecting only a few centimetres of snow, were warned that blizzard-like conditions were possible at one point, and later a flash freeze was possible with wet surfaces rapidly becoming icy due to plummeting temperatures.

Gale warnings were in effect in coastal New Jersey and Delaware areas, with gusts of 65-95km/h possible and forecasters warning of tree damage and resulting power outages as well as rough boating conditions. A wind advisory was in effect for other areas.

Intensifying low pressure accompanying the storm have been generating high winds, and plunging temperatures would freeze any moisture on roadways, making for hazardous travel in icy conditions.

State police said Saturday afternoon that a crash involving 73 vehicles on a central Pennsylvania highway had resulted in multiple injuries, but no life-threatening injuries were immediately reported.

The system also brought snow and rain to several Southern states, including Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, on Friday and Saturday. Parts of northern Mississippi and portions of the Mississippi Delta also recieved between 5-10cm of snow.

A number of St. Patrick’s Day parades were postponed elsewhere.

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