BOSTON (AP) — The day before spring officially arrived, New England was promised one final, sloppy blow of the winter season, with forecasters predicting several inches of snow.

A winter storm was forecast for late Monday and early Tuesday and could stick around throughout the day, covering newly bare patches of ground and forcing people to gas up their snow blowers again.

At Ashburnham True Value Hardware, in north-central Massachusetts, employee Andrew Stanley said Monday he hadn't noticed extra sales of shovels and salt, though the National Weather Service forecast 7 to 19 inches of a mix of snow and sleet. He did hear a little grumbling, though.

"Everybody's about sick of winter," he said.

But some were welcoming the forecast, as the coming storm looked to extend the ski season. Just a year ago this week, local temperatures hit the 80s, prompting skiers in Maine to strip down to shorts and bikini tops and forcing an end to the season at many mountains.

At Sugarbush Resort in Vermont, communications manager Patrick Brown said more snow now could make spring the best time of year for many.

"Skiers like both of those things: great sunny warm days and lots of snow," Brown said.

The forecasts called for 10 to 18 inches around Montpelier, Vt. Lesser amounts, 4 to 10 inches, were predicted for western Massachusetts and along the coast, with Boston seeing 3 to 7 inches; Portland, Maine, 5 to 11 inches; and Providence, R.I., looking at 3 to 5 inches of snow and sleet mix. Hartford, Conn., could get 2 to 4 inches of snow and sleet, the weather service said.

The likelihood of school cancellations Tuesday led Massachusetts officials to postpone the English composition section of its standardized state test until next Monday.

After a storm earlier this month dumped over a foot of snow in some areas and caused coastal flooding in Massachusetts, some New Englanders weren't looking forward to more winter weather.

In downtown Concord, N.H., where the forecast was 7 to 13 inches of snow, Jennifer Hutchins said: "I hate it ... I guess I like to watch it fall, but I don't like when it sticks around."

"I'm tired of it," said Paula Lochhead. "But we live in New Hampshire, what are you gonna do?"


Associated Press writers Clarke Canfield in Portland, Maine; Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, VT., and Morgan True in Concord, N.H., contributed to this report.