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Vehicles are piled up at mile marker 286 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, a mile outside Reading. Portions of both the turnpike and Interstate 78 were shut down in snowy eastern Pennsylvania after chain-reaction pileups involved dozens of vehicles on slippery roads. / David C. Ronk, AP

Remnants of the latest deadly snow and sleet storm system to batter the South and Northeast were still causing havoc for millions Friday. But there was hope for winter relief along much of the region Friday.

The National Weather Service forecast improving conditions and warmer temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic region as a pesky Nor'easter coursed into New England after blanketing several states with up to two feet of snow. Crashes involving dozens of cars and trucks jammed traffic along portions of the slickened state Turnpike near Bucks County, Pa., for several hours Friday, injuring at least 30 people and snarling traffic for miles.

The lingering storm is responsible for at least 24 deaths so far, about 14,000 canceled flights and snarled traffic from the deep South to upper New York State. The chilling impact remains: lost retail sales, less worker productivity and stressed parents, frazzled by another day of youngsters home-bound by canceled classes in at least nine states. Many will have an extended weekend because of Monday's closures for Presidents Day.

Hopes that Mother Nature might lighten up on Valentine's Day failed to mend the soured relationship between NBC meteorologist Al Roker and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over the mayor's decision to keep schools open Thursday. City schools have been closed for snow fewer than a dozen times since the 1970s.

Roker blasted de Blasio in a series of tweets for his criticism of the Weather Service. Roker hasn't backed off, but Friday morning, he apologized on the Today show for tweeting "one term" for the newly elected mayor.

New York was hit by 10 inches of snow. Storm-related deaths included Min Lin, 36, who was killed by a snowplow as she was loading groceries in her car at a Brooklyn shopping center. Her nearly full-term baby was later delivered by cesarean section at a medical facility, where the baby is listed in critical condition.

More than 1 million homes and businesses were without power Thursday, but that fell to about 440,000 Friday, mostly in South Carolina, with 228,000 customers without service after the state's worst winter storm in a decade. Four residents died, among them a man who killed by gas fumes as he used a grill to heat a bedroom. In Georgia, where 175,000 customers had no power, a 5-year-old girl died early Friday after a candle ignited flames in her Millen home.

Washington, D.C., virtually shut down by nine inches of snow Thursday morning, picked up another three inches Thursday night. Federal offices reopened two hours late, but many schools remain closed.

Officials in several states continue to warn about storm hazards. Snow cleanup is being blamed for fatal heart attacks of two Burke County, N.C. residents. And at least two suburban Maryland men died after shoveling snow.

"Please don't over-exert yourself,'' said Howard County, Md, executive Ken Ulman. "Clear a little at a time."

Winter storm warnings were lifted in parts of the South, although some regions were expecting up to four inches of snow by Friday evening. In Kentucky, the congregation of Calvary Baptist Church at Pinetop was mourning the death of the Rev. Carlos Craft, 73, killed when the vehicle he was using to clear snow slid into a creek.

Contributing: Associated Press



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: East Coast, South hoping for a winter breather

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