Mar 4, 1:49 AM EST

March storm heads east after dumping snow on Upper Midwest

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- New England residents already buried in snow can expect another wintry blast as a March storm races across the U.S.

The National Weather Service said a storm system that swept across parts of the Great Plains and Upper Midwest on Tuesday should move into Maine, Massachusetts, eastern New York and New Jersey by Wednesday. The system will dip through the mid-Atlantic region, including Washington, D.C., and North Carolina, and extend into Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, southern Oklahoma and northeastern Texas.

In West Virginia, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says he's mobilizing the West Virginia National Guard to assist with the prospect of heavy rains, snow and possible flooding on Wednesday.

The storm dumped several inches of snow across the northern Plains, making roads treacherous and leading to some traffic fatalities.

An arctic cold front will sweep across the Dakotas and Minnesota in the storm's wake.

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`JUST ANOTHER DAY IN SOUTH DAKOTA'

In parts of the Great Plains, snow made travel difficult Tuesday. Many schools from the eastern Dakotas to western Minnesota delayed classes or closed for the day.

"Just another day in South Dakota," said Jessica Martin, who works at the Crossroads Truck Stop in the eastern South Dakota town of Colman. "We're way ready for spring."

Heavy snow and gusty winds also struck much of Wyoming, causing road closures and prompting transport officials to warn against all but essential travel across much of the state. Three people were killed in a three-vehicle crash north of Casper, Wyoming, on Monday night as the storm blew into the state, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

In Minnesota, the State Patrol reported 150 crashes and nearly 30 vehicles that slid off roads or spun out by midafternoon. A state trooper's squad car was struck and badly damaged on I-494 near Concord in South St. Paul, Minnesota, while that trooper was investigating a crash.

Authorities closed a slippery stretch of Interstate 94 in central Minnesota for a time due to numerous accidents. The driver of an SUV was killed in a multivehicle crash on the freeway, the State Patrol said.

One person died in a crash on Highway 41 in Brown County of northeastern Wisconsin. At least four school buses got stuck in traffic behind the crash scene.

At least one fatal traffic accident was reported in Omaha, Nebraska.

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BOSTON TRANSIT

The Boston-area transit system is considering ways to compensate customers for weeks of weather-related delays and breakdowns as the area has received 8 1/2 feet of snow.

A Massachusetts Bay Transportation official said Tuesday the options include a week of free fares, which he estimated would cost the agency $6 million. Other possibilities include rebates or discounts for monthly pass holders, or letting customers with monthly passes use them for another month.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation board will vote next week on whether to approve any of the plans.

Officials estimated the cost to the transit system of the winter storm cleanup is $36.5 million to date.

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