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Spring snowstorm hammers New York, Pennsylvania (+video)

A Spring nor'easter is forecast to dump more than a foot of snow in Pennsylvania, and parts of New York, closing schools and causing power outages. Flood watches have been issued for Maine and New Hampshire

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Buffalo-based weather service meteorologist Sean Smith said the slow-moving storm could linger of the Northeast through Monday before moving out sometime Tuesday.

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The Sunday storm caused plenty of disruptions. Major League Baseball postponed games in Boston, New York and Washington. The scheduled arrival of the space shuttle Enterprise in New York City was pushed back, and an Earth Day celebration at a park in Virginia Beach, Va., was canceled.

The rainfall was a welcome in parts of the Northeast, which is below normal for this time of year.

"We're down 7 or 8 inches," weather service forecaster Charlie Foley said. "This won't completely wipe out the deficit but it will certainly help."

Officials said the rain should go a long way toward alleviating drought conditions, which have helped spark several major brush fires in recent weeks.

Even Lake Champlain on the Vermont-New York border, normally close to flood stage this time of year because of rain and snowmelt, is near a record low. Just a year ago, it approached its highest level on record.

Another unseasonable nor'easter last year just before Halloween dumped up to 2 feet of wet, heavy snow that snapped tree limbs and power lines, and knocked out power to more than 3 million customers in the Northeast. In Connecticut, it broke a state record for the number of power company customers left in the dark by a single storm that had been set only two months earlier when the remnants of Hurricane Irene slammed the state as it barreled up the Eastern Seaboard.

The worst of the flooding from Irene was in Vermont and northern New York, where cleanups continue seven months later. Farmers are still grappling with crop-smothering rocks, trees, gravel and sand left behind when the flood waters receded. But the dry weather has eased the threat the debris that litters the landscape will rush downriver again.

Farther south, the rain intensified throughout the day Sunday over the Baltimore and Washington metro areas, where drivers were warned drivers to beware of low visibility and slick roadways. Boaters on the Chesapeake Bay were cautioned about the winds.

In Rockport, Mass., the storm forced authorities to halt until Tuesday a search for a missing 2-year-old girl who apparently disappeared from a beach Thursday when her mother went to retrieve a lost ball. The beach is known for strong riptides.

Authorities in New York also suspended work that began last week on digging up a basement in a search for the remains of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who disappeared in 1979 on his walk to his school bus stop. The search was to resume Monday.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

IN PICTURES: Extreme weather 2012

IN PICTURES: Extreme weather 2012

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