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Snow Forces Some to Adjust Valentine’s Day, Holiday Weekend Plans

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Airline travelers stranded by East coast snow storm sleep in the baggage claim area at Dulles International Airport on Feb. 13, 2014. (Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Airline travelers stranded by East coast snow storm sleep in the baggage claim area at Dulles International Airport on Feb. 13, 2014. (Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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FREDERICK, Md. — Flights at Mid-Atlantic airports were delayed Friday and damage was revealed at a landmark Ocean City fishing pier as the effects of this week’s record-breaking winter storm lingered into the Presidents Day weekend.

Washington and Baltimore airports reported flight delays, even with all runways open after Thursday’s massive cancellations. At Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, more than 40 percent of outgoing flights on the departures monitor were delayed or canceled at 1:30 p.m., and nearly four out of five arriving flights were delayed or canceled.

The terminal was busy, but far from mobbed, as weary passengers killed time at restaurants and scrambled to adjust their Valentine’s and Presidents Day weekend plans.

Tim McKelvey, a water-treatment plant worker from Lenoir City, Tenn., said he and co-worker Don Simpson had been trying since Wednesday to get home from a Washington conference.

“Our wives are going to kill us,” McKelvey said. He said he had planned a special Valentine’s Day for his spouse, including dinner and chocolate-covered strawberries.

“My brother better be picking them up because I won’t be there in time,” he said.

In Ocean City, the storm damaged a 489-foot fishing pier rebuilt last year after Hurricane Sandy destroyed it in 2012. Bayshore Marine Construction told WBOC-TV that Thursday’s strong waves and wind had snapped seven pylons at the end of the pier.

The heavy snowfall forced Mount Vernon to scale back its weekend celebration of George Washington’s birthday. Dance demonstrations and a culinary competition featuring hoecakes — a cornmeal-based pancake — were canceled because the outdoor venue is covered with snow, spokeswoman Melissa Wood said.

“We thought people aren’t going to want to watch people cook while they’re standing in 10 inches of snow,” Wood said.

She said free attendance on Presidents Day often brings more than 10,000 to the estate. Fewer guests are expected this year, partly because some area school systems are holding classes to make up for excess snow days, Wood said.

The Maryland State Highway Administration said all interstate highways were clear and crews were cleaning up secondary roads ahead of another storm forecast for early Saturday that was expected to bring up to 2 inches of snow to Washington and Baltimore, and up to 4 inches to northern and western Maryland.

The nor’easter was linked to at least four deaths in the region.

A truck driver in Ashburn, Va., died Thursday while working to clear snowy roads. State police say he had pulled off the road and was standing behind his vehicle when he was hit by another dump truck.

Howard County, Md., fire officials said two men died after suffering medical emergencies while shoveling snow, and a third died when he collapsed outside. Autopsies will determine if any of the deaths were due directly to the weather.

Friday’s sunny weather gave restaurants the weather break they needed to honor Valentine’s Day reservations. In Frederick, Md., the chic Volt restaurant saw no appreciable drop in Valentine’s Day reservations, said T.J. Whitman, the restaurant’s wine director.

“I think we’ve lost all of, like, eight total guests,” he said Thursday night. “That’s just normal stuff. I don’t lose sleep over that.”

Washington resident Rob Wolcott had marriage on his mind Thursday as he and his wife tried to get to St. Kitts for a friend’s Saturday wedding. Their scheduled morning flight out of Reagan National Airport was canceled.

Wolcott said the bride and groom were stressed about the delay because Wolcott was to play a special role in the nuptials.

“They will still get married whether or not I am the one to do the actual officiating,” he said.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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