updated 3/19/2004 8:10:05 AM ET 2004-03-19T13:10:05

The last day of winter hit the Northeast with a sheet of white, as snow fell across the region Friday. New York City was expecting up to 5 inches by the time the storm clears out overnight.

The National Weather Service expected measurable snowfall as far south as Philadelphia.

On Wednesday, residents of the Northeast shoveled, scraped and swept up after a snowstorm that swept out of the Midwest and dumped more than a foot of snow in some spots three days before the start of spring. At least 14 traffic deaths were blamed on slippery roads.

In New York City, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade started up Fifth Avenue amid snow and freezing temperatures, but the reception was warm among revelers, many wearing green plastic hats and face paint.

As bagpipes played, the “Fighting 69th” regiment of the New York National Guard led about 150,000 marchers in the annual demonstration of Irish pride, the biggest in the country.

Sean McAnulla and Nuala McKinney of Northern Ireland, wearing shamrocks and green carnations, said the cold wasn’t about to dissuade them from attending the parade. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” McAnulla said. “I’ve always wanted to go to New York for St. Patrick’s Day. It even beats Ireland.”

Snow accumulations of up to 15 inches were reported in parts of southern and western New York, including a record 14.3 at Buffalo, and 10 inches piled up in northeastern Ohio. Boston had 7 inches by early Wednesday and parts of Connecticut measured more than 9.

“I’m tired of this,” Peg Woods said in Newton, N.J. “I just put my snow shovel away the other day.”

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