The Associated Press

The East’s worst storm 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. “This is looking like the largest storm this year, and it may be one of the top five in our recorded history,” said Lora Rakowski of Maryland’s Highway Administration. “You name a place, they’ve got snow – and a lot of it.” 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, the Knox County sheriff’s office said. West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise declared a state of emergency as his state had 20 inches of snow in the north, floods that blocked roads in the south and ice elsewhere. Some 41,000 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.

Snow fell yesterday from Missouri to New Jersey, and flakes fell at a rate of up to 4 inches an hour in parts of Maryland. Forecasts ranged from a foot of snow by late today in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to 20 inches in New Jersey and 2 feet in Maryland and northern Virginia.

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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