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Northeast Contends With Winter Storm That's Already Killed 14

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Dec. 2: The first snowfall of the year is seen from Central Park in New York City. (AP)

Drivers in much of the Northeast navigated a treacherous mix of rain, sleet and snow Monday as a storm blamed for at least 14 deaths slid through the region after pounding the Upper Midwest.

Schools canceled or delayed classes from New York to Maine as highways turned slippery and wind gusted to 40 mph in parts of the region.

The speed limit on part of the Massachusetts Turnpike was cut to 40 mph as police reported numerous traffic accidents around the state during the morning commute. States put hundreds of plows on the roads, including about 650 in New Hampshire alone.

Most courts in Maine closed for the day and Gov. John Baldacci considered sending state workers home early. Communities around the state imposed parking bans for Monday and Tuesday to make way for snowplows.

"It's snowing so hard you can hardly keep your eyes open," said Bill Swain, spokesman for Maine's Sugarloaf USA ski area in Carrabassett Valley.

The National Weather Service said a foot of snow was possible in the mountains of northern New England, with the potential for 20 inches in northern Maine and a foot in northern New York's central Adirondacks and Lake George region.

By Monday morning, 6 inches of snow had fallen at Springfield, Vt., and in parts of central New York state.

Ice storm warnings were issued for Massachusetts and Connecticut, and winter storm warnings were in effect in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and northern and western New York.

The heavy snow and wind discouraged hikers at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center in Crawford Notch, N.H., Maeve Lugris said at the center's front desk. "Today would be at the discretion of our guide whether they felt confident taking people out due to the wind chill factor," Lugris said.

Air travel was disrupted Monday at the Portland International Jetport in Maine as flights were canceled because of poor conditions at connecting airports.

Hundreds of flights into the New York City area's three main airports — Kennedy, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia — were delayed as long as two hours Sunday by wind and ice, and hundreds of flights were canceled Saturday at Chicago's O'Hare.

Airliners slid off slippery pavement during the weekend at airports in Syracuse, N.Y.; Des Moines, Iowa, and Madison, Wis. No one was injured.

Minnesota's Grand Marais, on Lake Superior's North Shore, got 20 inches of snow Saturday, according to the weather service. However, Grand Marais roads were already cleared Sunday, said Jane Shinners, owner of the downtown Harbor Inn.

Before the storm hit the Plains and Midwest, it dumped about 3 feet of snow in one mountain area in western Colorado. Silverton Mountain ski resort had to postpone Sunday's scheduled season opener for a day because of the storm.

Icy or wet pavement was blamed for four deaths in Michigan, three in Wisconsin, two in New Jersey and one each in Illinois, Indiana, New York, North Dakota and Colorado. One of the New Jersey deaths occurred during the night in a 15-car pileup that also injured 28 people, police said.

Elsewhere, a separate storm raked the Oregon and Washington coasts with wind gusting higher than 100 mph in some spots and surf reported 45 feet high. The Washington State Patrol said most major roads were closed in two coastal counties Monday morning, and 33,000 customers were reported without electricity.