Last blast? Late winter snowstorm blankets South, Northeast

Traffic backs up as more than 50 miles of Interstate 65 southbound is shut down from the weather, Thursday, March 5, 2015, near Mount Washington, Ky. Kentucky State Police reported that the interstate will not reopen until Thursday evening. Kentucky has been walloped by a winter storm that has dumped nearly 2 feet of snow in parts of the state. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Winter could have at least one more blast for much of the U.S. after the late-season snow stops falling: Record low temperatures are in the forecast for dozens of cities.

By midday Thursday, a strong cold front moving across the eastern U.S. had dumped more than 20 inches of snow into parts of Kentucky, and conditions worsened in the Northeast as snow was starting to pile up, reaching nearly 6 inches and counting in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, by early afternoon.

The massive snow in Kentucky left hundreds of drivers stranded on two major highways.

In New York, a flight from Atlanta carrying 125 people skidded off the runway at LaGuardia Airport while landing and crashed through a fence. Passengers carrying bags and bundled in heavy coats and scarves slid down an inflated chute to safety on the snowy pavement. Any injuries appear to be minor.

Schools, government offices and legislatures in the South and Northeast were shut down for what could be one of the last snow days at the end of a winter that’s been brutal for much of the country.

The National Weather Service had winter storm warnings in effect from Texas to Nantucket, and the forecast called for record cold temperatures in the same area on Friday.

Here’s a look at what’s happening:

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STUCK ON THE ROAD

Authorities say that hundreds of drivers were stuck on two major highways in Kentucky, where snow totals reached nearly 2 feet. Many had to spend the night in their vehicles.

The National Guard was helping get people out.

Officials said more than 400 vehicles were stuck along I-24 between the western Kentucky towns of Cadiz and Eddyville. Gov. Steve Beshear said that 200 were still stuck by midday Thursday.

There was an even larger pileup involving some 200 tractor-trailers on I-65 near Elizabethtown in central Kentucky.

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SLIPPERY RUNWAY

A plane from Atlanta skidded off a runway at New York’s LaGuardia Airport while landing Thursday, crashing through a chain-link fence and coming to rest with its nose perilously close to the edge of an icy bay.

The Delta flight veered off the runway at around 11:10 a.m., authorities said. Emergency responders were still assessing people, but any injuries appeared to be minor, the Fire Department of New York said.

The plane came to rest in several inches of snow.

Passengers trudged through the snow in an orderly line after climbing off the plane. Both the airport’s runways are closed until further notice, which is standard procedure after such incidents.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said the passengers were bused to a terminal. It said the airline will work with authorities to figure out what caused the crash.

The weather also meant cancelations of more than 4,000 flights to, from, or within the U.S. on Thursday, according to FlightAware.

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COLD HANGING AROUND?

Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at Weather Bell Analytics, said cities including Waco, Texas; Chicago, Memphis and Cleveland should expect record cold Friday morning.

In some cases, the old records could be obliterated.

In Memphis, for example, the coldest temperature on record for March 6 is 20 degrees. The forecast is calling for a low of 11. And at northern Virginia’s Dulles Airport, a forecast low of 7 would shatter the record of 15.

“This is amazing for early March,” he said of the Thursday-Friday, one-two punch of snow and cold.

For those awaiting spring, there’s a hint of good news: Unlike the persistent deep-freeze experienced by much of the country in February, this one shouldn’t hang around as long.

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IS HIGHER FARE FAIR?

With the nation’s capital under a snow emergency, cab rides are more expensive.

The D.C. Taxicab Commission said snow emergency are in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. That means cabs can add a $15 surcharge to the metered fare. It’s meant to entice drivers to keep working.

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POWER KNOCKED OUT

The storm knocked out power to 82,000 homes and businesses in West Virginia on Thursday. The northern and western parts of the state were hardest hit.

Officials warned that restoring power could be difficult because of road closures from high water in many spots.

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FALLING SHORT OF THE RECORD?

Bostonians might not get the snow they need to break a record.

This winter, the city has received 105.5 inches of snow — more than 8 1/2 feet, the National Weather Service said. The record is 107.6 inches recorded during the 1995-96 season. Records date to 1872.

But, the current storm might not drop enough snow to reach the record, as little more than a dusting was expected in Boston.

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