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Winter returns with a blast as snow pounds U.S. Northeast

By Neale Gulley

BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) - A late-April snowstorm struck a wide area of the U.S. Northeast on Monday, raising the threat of downed trees and hazardous roads and causing scattered power outages in several states.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings from West Virginia northward into western New York. As much as a foot of snow was forecast for higher elevations of western Pennsylvania.

Flooding and high winds were also forecast.

After a milder-than-normal winter in most of the country, snow began falling late Sunday from the mountains of West Virginia to the southern shores of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania and New York. Forecasts called for snowfall to continue through Monday night.

Near Buffalo, New York, predicted snowfall amounts ranged from 2 to 3 inches along the shoreline of Lake Erie to a foot or more in the hills south and west of the city, the National Weather Service's website said.

Heavy rain fell Sunday night and early Monday along the Eastern Seaboard, causing scattered street flooding in areas around the New York City area, according to police reports.

About 57,000 power outages were reported scattered across several states from Kentucky to Maine, with most of them in Pennsylvania and upstate New York.

Portions of southern New England continued to receive soaking rain early Monday, as strong winds picked up along the coast, prompting a flood advisory for the area. On Sunday, a drenching rain in Boston prompted the Boston Red Sox baseball team to postpone an evening game against the New York Yankees.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for Cape Cod and other parts of eastern Massachusetts, warning that strong gusts could bring down small tree branches and cause power outages.

Winds of up to 50 miles per hour were expected in some areas, the service said on its website.

The wet snow storm was effectively bookending a milder-than-average winter after an unusual mid-autumn snow storm slammed the northeast last October over the Halloween weekend.

(Reporting by Dan Burns and Daniel Lovering; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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