Storms stretch from Mo. to N.J.

One of the East's worst storms of the season blew heavy snow along the Ohio Valley and into the mid-Atlantic states yesterday, shutting down two major airports and canceling church services. More than 3 feet of snow was possible in the mountains, and other areas had floods and mudslides.

At least five deaths had been blamed on the weather since snow burst across the Plains on Friday and Saturday.

The snow was part of a huge storm system that also produced thunderstorms in the South, including an early morning tornado that damaged a house in northern Florida.

In Tennessee, where more than 7 inches of rain fell earlier, a mudslide early yesterday destroyed an apartment building outside Knoxville, chasing out several dozen tenants. One man was hospitalized in serious condition, a Knox County sheriff's spokesman said.

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise declared a state of emergency: His state had 20 inches of snow in the north, floods that blocked roads in the south and ice elsewhere. About 27,000 customers were without power. Williamson closed its flood wall as the Tug Fork River rose toward a crest of up to 3 feet above flood stage.

Radar showed snow falling yesterday from Missouri to New Jersey. Forecasts ranged from a foot of snow by late today in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to 20 inches in New Jersey and 2 to 3 feet in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

The National Weather Service forecast up to 3 feet of snow in West Virginia's most mountainous counties.

Two of the three major Washington area airports - Baltimore-Washington International and Reagan National - were closed until further notice; Dulles International had one runway open during the afternoon.

About three-quarters of flights at Philadelphia International Airport were canceled, spokesman Mark Pesce said.

Amtrak suspended service between Washington and Richmond, Va., spokesman Dan Stessel said.

Monuments and museums in Washington were closed, and President Bush's usual helicopter ride to the White House from Camp David was replaced by a 2 1/2 -hour drive on snow-covered roads.

New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey declared a state of emergency, giving state police authority to close highways, but spokesman Micah Rasmussen said there were no immediate closures.

Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner also declared a state of emergency and mobilized National Guard troops to help clear roads. Nonessential travel was prohibited.

Hospitals in Northern Virginia and Maryland asked volunteers with four-wheel drive vehicles to help employees get to and from work. "I'm already getting calls from employees about tomorrow," said Patty Burch, clinical coordinator at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax, Va.

More than a foot of snow was possible in New York City, which readied 1,300 plows and 148,000 tons of salt, said Kathy Dawkins, a spokeswoman for the Department of Sanitation.

In Philadelphia, Managing Director Philip Goldsmith said: "This is the 14th storm we've had in 12 weeks. Our folks have worked hard, and they're going to be working hard in the next couple of days."

To the west, snow-covered, icy roads led to Sunday church service cancellations in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.

The weather-related deaths included two in Illinois, one in Nebraska, one in West Virginia, and one person killed in Iowa when an Amtrak train slammed into a car stuck on the tracks in drifting snow west of Danville.

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