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Spring may be around the corner, but winter's not done yet

By Ed Payne and Steve Almasy, CNN
March 19, 2013 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Up to 6 inches of snow expected in Boston
  • New England mountains should see up to 14 inches of precipitation
  • A tornado hits a Tennessee county on Monday afternoon
  • Roads closed in North Dakota, Minnesota due to blowing snow

(CNN) -- The official start of spring is just a day away.

But, along parts of the upper Midwest and Canada, winter plans to stretch its last hurrah until the waning minutes.

Fourteen inches of snow are forecast for the mountains of New England on Tuesday, prompting school closures from Massachusetts to Maine.

With all the snow this winter, the Worchester, Massachusetts, school system has already burned through the five snow days built into the schedule and will have to make up two more at the end of the year.

In Boston, the forecast was much more reasonable, but still troublesome with 3 to 6 inches of snow and sleet forecast before rain begins to fall Tuesday night.

A rainbow appears in the skies above a Hong Kong office building on Wednesday, August 7. Click through to see other images of weather around the world. A rainbow appears in the skies above a Hong Kong office building on Wednesday, August 7. Click through to see other images of weather around the world.
Photos: Weather around the world
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Amy Thornton from Crozet, Virginia, woke at eight in the morning and found her three young children huddled together on the living room couch, playing with their Kindle. "A snow day is like this little stolen moment. Stolen from routine and rat-race," she said. "The highlight was getting to all play together, making memories." Amy Thornton from Crozet, Virginia, woke at eight in the morning and found her three young children huddled together on the living room couch, playing with their Kindle. "A snow day is like this little stolen moment. Stolen from routine and rat-race," she said. "The highlight was getting to all play together, making memories."
Snow day: Sharing time with the kids
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Boston's mayor called on city commuters to use public transportation when possible to leave the roads clear for public works crews to do their job.

The story will be much the same in Worchester, about 40 miles to the west, where the city is on pace to have the fifth snowiest season on record, CNN affiliate WHDH-TV reported. All it needs is just another 4 inches of snow on Tuesday.

"It's kind of becoming old hat because it seems every week we're getting clobbered," resident Bonnie Narcisi told the station.

Air traffic snarled

Track the winter storm

On Monday, low visibility caused delays of more than an hour at Newark International, John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports in the New York area.

And while fewer than 300 flights were canceled Monday, delays are expected Tuesday at airports from Ohio to New York.

Roads unsafe

In some areas of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, up to 5 inches of snow were forecast.

In North Dakota, a no-travel advisory was issued by the state department of transportation for the eastern half of the state.

The warning said there were areas where visibility was almost zero because of blowing snow, and there was significant ice on the highways and streets.

One highway was blocked because of snow drifts covering the road, CNN affiliate KXJB reported.

Minnesota officials had also closed three highways in the west central part of that state, KXJB reported.

Thunderstorms and tornadoes

In the South, the precipitation was liquid, but just as blustery.

A tornado touched down Monday afternoon in Rutherford County near Nashville, Tennessee, county officials said.

The tornado was on the ground for about 4 1/2 miles, said Joe Gourley of the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency.

Fewer than a dozen homes suffered minor to moderate damage, trees were toppled and roads were blocked, Gourley said.

Just to the west, students at Fairview Middle School were evacuated after lightning struck the school and started a fire on the roof, CNN affiliate WTVF reported.

Heavy rains associated with the system provided welcome relief for firefighters, helping to douse a 260-acre wildfire, near the east Tennessee mountain resort town of Pigeon Forge. Only five acres were burning late Monday, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director James Bassham told CNN affiliate WATE.

The wildfire destroyed more than 60 cabins, WATE reported.

CNN's Justin Jones and Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.

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