Snow Returns to Massachusetts

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Boston, MA Jan. 13 (AP)--Finally, snow has returned to Massachusetts. Predawn snowfall that began in the west and spread across the state today marked the first time in 303 days that snow has fallen in Boston _ a record for the state's largest city.

``It reminds me of Vermont, reminds me of home,'' Cortney Merrill, who now lives in Boston, said as she stood smiling in a puddle of melted snow in a downtown coffee shop.

Outside, John McGrath spread salt on the sidewalk for the first time this winter. ``I would like to have it very deep so you can walk on top of it,'' McGrath said.

Snow fell early today from the Great Lakes into the Northeast, along a cold front stretching from Minnesota to southern New England.

At least 10 inches of snow fell in parts of Minnesota, and in Indiana a motorist was killed and a state trooper critically injured in separate accidents Wednesday on snowy, icy roads.

In Massachusetts, the unfamiliar snow brought familiar problems. State police reported dozens of car accidents throughout the greater Boston area. In Springfield, police said a 9-year-old girl waiting for a school bus was hospitalized after being hit by a skidding car.

The State Highway Department dispatched nearly 1,000 pieces of sanding, salting and plowing equipment on the roads by early morning.

The snow was falling so heavily by late morning, the Boston skyline was lost in a blanket of white and incoming flights to Logan International Airport were delayed by 20 minutes.

``It's a good excuse to be late for work,'' said Steven Edney of Boston as he stood in line in a coffee shop.

Up to 8 inches of snow were forecast in parts of southeast Massachusetts and Cape Cod, while up to 6 inches were predicted in the Berkshire mountains to the west.

In Minnesota, 10 inches of snow fell in Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville, while the 8.7 inches at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport broke the local record of 7 inches set Jan. 12, 1916.

Today's morning commute was slowed to a crawl, with several accidents reported on major highways, and Northwest Airlines canceled about 60 flights Wednesday, spokesman Jon Austin said.

Road accidents proved deadly in Indiana, where the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory due to freezing drizzle and snow.

``We have a layer of ice on everything,'' said Trooper Jim Kaylor of the Indiana State Police post at Bremen.

State Trooper Jason Beal was helping a wrecker operator pull a vehicle out of a ditch on a state highway in southeastern Kosciusko County when a driver lost control of her car, hitting Beal and the wrecker. Beal, 24, was in critical condition this morning at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.

A driver was killed Wednesday night in a rollover on Interstate 469 in Fort Wayne, Allen County police said.

Three to 6 inches of snow snarled the morning commute and forced cancellation of some flights today in Detroit.

At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, plows were clearing ramps and runways early this morning, spokesman Mike Conway said, but Northwest Airlines canceled about 30 incoming flights and 13 departing flights anyway.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press