Windy, snowy winter storm floods coastal New England, mid-Atlantic

By Daniel Lovering CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 7 (Reuters) - A slow moving winter storm lumbered across New England and the mid-Atlantic states on Thursday, plopping heavy, wet snow and blowing strong winds blamed for coastal flooding and flight cancellations. Expected to hang around the East Coast overnight, the storm was forecast to slather central New England with as much as 6 inches (15 cm) of glue-like snow and the New York City area with up to 3 inches (8 cm), enough to snarl the Friday morning commute, said meteorologist Mark Mancuso on Those forecasts paled in comparison with what the storm left behind on Wednesday in Sugar Grove, West Virginia, where 14.8 inches (37.6 cm) was recorded and in Chicago, where 9 inches (23 cm) marked the city's biggest snowstorm in two years, the National Weather Service said. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, pedestrians wearing heavy winter coats trudged along slushy sidewalks and cars drove slowly. "I'm not happy about having more snow," said Nina Allen, 65, a college professor. "I've been ready for spring since the first of the year." A dangerous combination of blasting winds and sticky snow, blamed for 150,000 power outages in nine states near the Appalachian Mountains on Wednesday before the storm moved north, brought down tree limbs and caused a relative handful of outages - about 1,000 customers - in Massachusetts and Rhode Island early Thursday, said Deborah Drew, a spokeswoman for National Grid. "Combine the heavy wet snow with those strong winds, which are blowing 50-60 miles per hour (80-97 kmh) over southeastern Massachusetts and the Cape, that's going to lead to power outages," forecaster Mancuso said. High winds were blamed for tidal surges that caused coastal flooding on Thursday along the Massachusetts coast and in Jersey Shore towns still drying out from Superstorm Sandy. A renewed threat of flooding was expected at high tide on Friday morning, Mancuso said. "Tomorrow morning's high tide could be a real big problem around the east coast of Massachusetts and right down into the Cape Cod area. Looks like potential for more coastal flooding tomorrow as well," Mancuso said. On the Jersey Shore on Thursday, flooding shut Route 35 in Mantoloking, which in February became the last town to open after Sandy ravaged the coastline in October, according to the municipality's website. The arrival of high tide also submerged streets in Long Beach Island, a barrier island further south, although water was receding by mid-morning, said Richard Crane, the borough manager of Beach Haven. said the brutal weather caused the cancellation on Thursday of more than 200 flights in and out of airports in the New York area, Boston, Washington and Baltimore. (Additional reporting by Dave Warner; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Sofina Mirza-Reid)