By Tom Watkins and Ben Brumfield
As if the East Coast hadn't gotten the point by now, Mother Nature drove it home yet again -- that this is winter, hear it roar.
The nor'easter that earlier this week threw sleet, snow and freezing rain across the South is pounding an icy path up though Maine on Friday, burying parts of the Northeast under a foot or more of snow, the National Weather Service said.
Snow was predicted to fall at a rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour in the northernmost regions.
Near Philadelphia, freezing rain made roads slick.
But there and in New York, the storm abated by sunrise, when a winter storm warning ended, CNN meteorologist Samantha Mohr said.
By nightfall Thursday, the New York metro area was already heavily cloaked in white: The National Weather Service reported up to 11 inches in the Bronx, 14 inches in Fairfield, Connecticut, and more in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which hosted the recent Super Bowl.
And that's not all. A system is predicted to move through the Midwest on Friday and drop 1 to 3 inches of snow, then move into the Northeast on Saturday and drop a similar amount.
But wait, there's more. On Saturday, a fast-moving system is predicted to form in the Midwest, dropping another 1 to 3 inches of snow, then move into the Northeast, where only a scant accumulation of snow is predicted.
The Northwest is not being spared unsettling weather. Showers and mountain snow are predicted through the weekend in some areas, with a flood watch called for coastal Oregon, including Portland. As much as 6 inches of rain are predicted from Friday through Sunday.
Enough already; really
For some, it was not so much the latest snowfall, but the relentless pace of the storms.
That's why New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Thursday: "Welcome to winter storm six of the last six weeks."
And as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said before the worst of the storm hit: "This has just been a brutal winter where it never really has gotten warmer. And so the natural melting away of snow and ice is not happening."
At least 16 deaths have been blamed on the latest storm. Three of them were in Howard County, Maryland, where three men -- ages 45, 55 and 57 -- suffered suspected cardiac arrest "while in the act of shoveling snow," county spokesman Mark Miller said.
There were three deaths apiece in Texas and North Carolina, including one in a rural part of the latter due to a falling tree limb. And in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, a 36-year-old pregnant woman died after being struck by a tractor that was clearing snow. Her nearly full-term baby was delivered by cesarean section at a hospital and was in critical condition.
Power out, planes grounded
Farther south, efforts on the electrical grid were making headway, with the number of customers without power early Friday dropping to slightly more than 489,000, down from 625,000 outages late Thursday.
The bulk of the outages remained in the Southeast, where more than 190,000 customers in Georgia and a similar number in South Carolina remained without power.
New York State had slightly more than 3,300, and New Jersey had fewer than 1,200.
As the storm shifted north, so did the flight cancellations.
In Atlanta, where balmy weather Thursday melted the ice that had emptied the highways of vehicles since early in the week, operations have returned to normal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, according to Flightaware.com, which tracks flight cancellations and delays.
But on the other end of the storm -- in New York, Philadelphia and Washington -- cancellations and delays were piling up. Early Friday, more than 1,100 flights within, into or out of the United States were already canceled.
But that may represent an improvement.
More than 6,500 flights were canceled Thursday and more than 4,000 were delayed.
Early Friday, Newark-Liberty International Airport was leading the list, with one in four flights canceled.
Other New York-area airports were also affected. "Now, we just have to wait and wait and wait until our flight goes out," said a girl in LaGuardia Airport, where her flight to Miami was canceled. "I want to sink in the pool and relax, so I'm trying to keep my hopes up," she said.
Rail and road
Amtrak suspended some service in the Northeast, South and Mid-Atlantic regions Thursday, but canceled only two long-distance services for Friday.
In New York, Thursday's snow caused tractor-trailers to jackknife, prompting authorities to ban commercial traffic on Interstate 84, a major east-west highway.
In Wellesley, Massachusetts, a woman went into labor while stuck in ice-bound traffic Thursday, CNN affiliate WCVB Boston reported. She gave birth in an ambulance as it arrived at a hospital.
Relief from the elements is on its way as higher temperatures from the South move northward. Highs on Friday are predicted to be in the 40s as far north as Richmond, Virginia.
Warmer weather should be melting ice in the Northeast by the middle of next week.
CNN's Greg Botelho, Sherri Pugh and Chandler Friedman contributed to this report.
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