Snow, cold cause problems across the country
Posted January 3, 2014 5:38 p.m. EST
Updated January 3, 2014 6:15 p.m. EST
A snowstorm dumped up to a foot of snow in the Midwest before moving over the Northeast, blanketing the region and unloading nearly 2 feet of snow north of Boston. Freezing temperatures with below-zero wind chills in some places complicated life for residents from Minnesota to Maine. At least 13 deaths, most in traffic accidents, were blamed on the weather. More cold blasts were in the forecast for the weekend and Monday.
IN THE TRIANGLE
Although the Triangle did not see snow, it could take a couple of days for delays and cancellations to unwind at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, spokesman Andrew Sawyer said.
"What our experience has been with storms such as this that are occurring elsewhere in the U.S. is that we will see impacts to the air service schedule for a few days," Sawyer said. "While snow may move out of a particular region, it takes airlines a few days to get their flights back up to speed."
About 80 flights – half of all those on the schedule Friday at RDU – were either cancelled or delayed by the weather to the north.
Even some of those who followed the advice to check with their airline found themselves thwarted. Katherine Mcintyre drove three hours from Wilmington to catch a flight to Boston.
"I called about 10 or 20 minutes ago and they said the flight was still on, but I get to the airport and my flight was cancelled," she said. After trying for two days, she was ready to give up.
Lou Petriello was also looking to reschedule rather than wait around all day. "It's just one of those days," he said.
More than 200 accidents were reported in Connecticut, where the winter storm could bring record-breaking frigid temperatures. State police reported 224 accidents with 25 minor injuries and 2,719 calls for service by Friday morning. Much of the state received 4 to 8 inches of snow. The National Weather Service says the bitter cold will continue with temperatures expected to fall below zero overnight and could set a record.
State and county government offices and public schools closed Friday after the storm dumped 2 to 7 inches of snow around the state. Winter storm warnings were in effect statewide. Transportation officials warned that roads were not clear and they asked people to stay home if possible.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Many schools closed after the storm blew through Washington and surrounding areas overnight Thursday, leaving at least 2 inches of snow. Offices of the federal government and the District of Columbia were open Friday, but workers were given the option to take leave or work from home.
Warming centers were opening across Illinois on Friday. The governor urged residents to use them. Nearly 17 inches of snow fell Thursday in some of Chicago's northern suburbs, and more than 12 inches of snow was recorded at Midway International Airport. The weather was blamed for two deaths, including a man who died in southern Illinois after having a heart attack while clearing snow. The National Weather Service said Chicago-area wind chills Monday and Tuesday could sink to 45 below zero.
Two deaths were blamed on the weather. Indianapolis' mayor urged residents to stock up on supplies in advance of more heavy snows and sub-zero readings. Ball State University decided to open its residence halls a day earlier for students returning from winter break. The National Weather Service said the 2-below zero temperature recorded in Indianapolis on Friday was the city's coldest since Jan. 21, 2011. A low of 10 below zero in Fort Wayne on Friday morning was a record for that city for that date, the weather service said.
Slicks roads caused dozens of wrecks and weather-related accidents were blamed for two deaths.
Maine was spared the brunt of the snow, but residents suffered from sub-zero temperatures with wind chills making it feel like 35 degrees below zero in some places. Forecasters said it could reach 30 degrees below or colder in some western Maine valleys Friday night, while central and southern Maine will see it dip between minus-10 and minus-15 before gradually warming up into the 20s by Saturday afternoon.
The National Weather Service says the storm dropped up to 7 inches of snow north of Baltimore on Friday. Maryland's State Highway Administration urged "extreme caution" for motorists because plummeting temperatures can quickly turn wet spots into icy roads. State officials restricted traffic on several bridges, including the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, after reports of sustained winds exceeding 50 mph Friday morning.
Massachusetts residents woke up to nearly 2 feet of snow in some areas and wind chills well below zero. The National Weather Service says the temperature in Boston was 2 degrees Friday morning but felt like 20-below. Boston had more than 13 inches of snow, with higher amounts north of the city, including 23.8 inches in Boxford.
Temperatures were in the single-digits across much of Michigan on Friday and dipped below zero in some areas. The National Weather Service said the Tuesday-through-Thursday storm left 11.6 inches of snow in Wyandotte and 11.1 inches in Romulus, both in Metro Detroit. The weather was blamed for one death. More snow is expected late Saturday and Sunday. And colder weather is forecast for Monday.
Minnesota's governor called off all public school classes Monday because of another cold blast in the forecast, and the Minnesota Zoo also will be closed to the public Monday. All St. Paul parks and recreation programming — both indoor and outdoor — were canceled for Sunday and Monday.
The storm is expected to move out of the area later Friday, but the cold will linger. Wind chill readings are ranging from 15-below to 35-below zero, and more of the same is expected Friday night. Most flights Friday morning were canceled at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, and numerous schools remained closed for a second day.
Schools, government offices and businesses closed Friday after more than 10 inches of snow accumulated in some areas of New Jersey and ushered bitterly cold temperatures. A New Jersey Transit bus slid backward down an icy hill in Paterson and crashed into a carpet store. The driver was the only person on the bus and she had minor injuries. More than one-fourth of Friday's outgoing flights at Newark Liberty Airport were canceled.
New York City officials urged the homeless to find shelter as single-digit temperatures followed the storm. The new mayor pleaded with residents to keep an eye out for homeless people in need. Flights out of Kennedy Airport were suspended earlier Friday because of zero visibility and high winds. Authorities said a woman with Alzheimer's disease froze to death after wandering away from her rural western New York home. Two other deaths were also blamed on the weather.
Ohio got some of the coldest temperatures in the state in years Friday, with more snow and colder weather expected during the next few days. Temperatures in some areas were in single digits to start the day, with wind chills below zero. Authorities say at least two people were killed in weather-related crashes in northeast Ohio on Thursday as the storm dumped 8-10 inches of snow around Cleveland and Toledo.
Residents of Toronto, where the temperature hit minus-7, heard loud booms generated by underground water freezing and expanding overnight Thursday. Toronto's airports — Pearson International and Billy Bishop Airport — canceled dozens of flights to and from the U.S. and Nova Scotia.
Between 2 and 8 inches of snow was scattered across Pennsylvania on Friday morning. Most school districts were closed in eastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia and Allentown schools. Pittsburgh's mayor-elect moved his Monday inauguration ceremony indoors because of temperatures forecast between the teens and minus-10. Authorities said a worker at a suburban Philadelphia road salt storage facility died Thursday when a 100-foot-tall pile of salt fell and crushed him on a backhoe.
The National Weather Service says temperatures were in the single digits around Rhode Island on Friday morning. The wind chill at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick fell to minus-20 overnight. Across the state, communities opened warming centers at libraries, senior centers and other buildings. Most schools were closed. Forecasters said snow totals were expected to be between 6 and 10 inches.
The snow was a boon to skiiers and snowmobilers in Vermont. More than a foot of snow fell in parts of southern Vermont, and the heavy snowfall — 15 inches in Dover — made for ideal conditions at Mount Snow ski area. Burlington recorded 8 degrees below zero Friday morning, with a wind chill of 29 below.
The National Weather Service says the temperature dropped to 7 degrees in Beckley on Friday morning. High temperatures in the teens were forecast for many areas, with the wind chill as low as 15 to 20 degrees below zero in the morning. There were reports of several traffic accidents on roads covered with ice and snow. Some areas in the eastern part of the state had up to 6 inches of snow. Many schools were closed or opening late.