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More than a million homes and businesses were left in darkness and cold Wednesday after snow, sleet and freezing rain moved into the Northeast. The region's second winter storm of the week canceled classes, closed government and business offices and sent cars and trucks sliding on slippery roads and highways. Around a foot of snow fell in some states. Moving in overnight from the Midwest, where it wreaked similar havoc, the storm tested the region already battered by a series of heavy snows and below-freezing temperatures this winter.
 
PENNSYLVANIA
 
Ice and snow brought down trees and limbs and knocked out power to some 750,000 customers. Most of the outages were in the Philadelphia suburbs, and PECO, the major utility company, warned it could be the weekend before some people get their lights back on. The Pennsylvania Turnpike was closed around Harrisburg, the state capital, for more than 13 hours after a fatal crash Tuesday night. Gov. Tom Corbett signed a disaster emergency proclamation, freeing up state agencies to use all available resources and personnel to respond to the storm. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Administration reported delays and some cancellations on suburban Philadelphia routes, while Amtrak suspended its Philadelphia-to-Harrisburg service indefinitely because of downed trees on wires and along tracks. Many schools were closed.
 
NEW YORK
 
Up to a foot of snow fell in places upstate; hundreds of schools upstate were closed. Four inches of snow and a quarter-inch of ice covered New York City. The state deployed 3,500 tons of stockpiled road salt to New York City, where supplies were running low, while plows and other heavy equipment aimed to keep roads clear. A 65-mile stretch of Interstate 84 between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut borders was closed to all vehicles until mid-afternoon. The Metropolitan Transit Authority said Metro-North Railroad service was reduced by 18 percent on morning trains.
 
NEW JERSEY
 
Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency and state offices were closed for non-essential employees, as the state got snow in northern parts, sleet and freezing rain in some areas, and all rain in southern counties. Tens of thousands of customers were without power, and schools were closed or delayed. NJ Transit operated on a storm schedule. Buses and trains were cross-honoring tickets.
 
MICHIGAN
 
The state received more than 6 inches of snow in some areas, snarling traffic and keeping towing operators busy. AAA Michigan got at least 1,100 calls for service Wednesday morning. Authorities reported several multi-vehicle crashes after snow fell along Interstate 94 in the Jackson area; traffic accidents closed parts of Interstate 69 around Flint. The storm also snarled traffic in southern Michigan, including Detroit. Two planes became stuck on taxiways at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, requiring trucks to push or pull the regional Delta jets to free them.
 
OHIO
 
Most of Ohio was hit with heavy snow and freezing rain, closing hundreds schools and creating extremely hazardous driving conditions. Four to 8 inches of snow fell overnight Tuesday. Many counties declared snow emergencies. "I wish that groundhog would have stayed in its hole," said Geoff Dunn, who took the bus to his downtown Columbus office. "Finding us six more weeks of winter was not the smart move." The National Weather Service said most Ohio cities already have seen anywhere from 15 to 30 inches more snow than is normal at this stage of winter because of the frequent winter storms.
 
ILLINOIS
 
A Chicago runner was credited with helping save a man who fell into icy Lake Michigan with his dog. Adam Dominik says he found twine and anchored it around himself while throwing the other end in the water, pulling the man onto nearby rocks. Meanwhile, a skier called 911. Rescuers pulled the man the rest of the way to safety. He was taken to a hospital. Both he and his dog were expected to recover.
 
KENTUCKY
 
Freezing rain and ice that moved through Kentucky overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday left thousands without power, mostly in Jefferson County, where about 10,000 customers had no lights early Wednesday. The National Weather Service said the winter storm left about a quarter-inch of ice over much of central and northern Kentucky. Several schools canceled classes. In one central Kentucky county, warming stations were opened for people without heat.
 
MASSACHUSETTS
 
The storm dropped nearly a foot in parts of Massachusetts. In Boston, Worcester, Springfield and elsewhere, schools and colleges canceled classes. The state's trial courts also closed for the day. Gov. Deval Patrick told all non-essential state employees working in the executive branch to stay home.
 
RHODE ISLAND
 
Nearly all schools in Rhode Island were closed, and state police responded to several traffic accidents. The General Assembly canceled its sessions. The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority warned of delays. Snow turned to sleet and rain in some parts of the state.
 
CONNECTICUT
 
The start of the General Assembly's annual session was delayed from Wednesday to Thursday because of the snow. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also ordered a delayed opening for state offices on Wednesday. Many schools were closed. Metro-North Railroad said the storm disabled a few commuter trains, forcing riders to transfer to other rail cars, while a few trains were canceled. Ridership was cut in half as thousands of commuters stayed home.
 
IOWA
 
Authorities said snowy road conditions may have contributed to a vehicle collision in Des Moines that killed one person.
 
OKLAHOMA
 
Classes were canceled at many Oklahoma schools, including Oklahoma City, because of subzero wind chills that reached 10 degrees below zero.
 
MISSOURI
 
A Southwest Airlines jet arriving from Denver got stuck in a snow bank Tuesday evening at Kansas City International Airport. A Southwest spokesman said all 55 passengers on Flight 305 were placed on buses and taken to the terminal.
 
WISCONSIN
 
With the severe weather, homeowners in far northern Wisconsin were urged to leave their faucets running 24 hours a day to prevent water pipes and sewer lines from freezing. The 9,000 Rhinelander residents won't be charged for using the extra water. Temperatures in the area were expected to be below zero for much of the week.
 
NEW HAMPSHIRE
 
At the Mount Sunapee Resort ski area, the lot was filling up with skiers undeterred by a trek through the snow. In Newport, the snow helped pick up the pace of ticket sales for an outdoor "Yankee Luau" on the town common Wednesday as part of the town's 98th Winter Carnival. The snow boded well for skijoring events this weekend, a popular attraction that had to be canceled the past two years because of a lack of snow. The sport features horseback riders towing a person on skis over jumps and through other obstacles.
 
INDIANA
 
Indiana was socked with up to a foot of snow. Several major highways were closed for a time, including Interstate 65 north of Lafayette and south of Indianapolis, and Interstate 74 in southeastern Indiana.
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.
 
The Maryland Transit Administration reduced the number of afternoon trains out of Washington on the MARC Brunswick line. Two morning trains hit fallen trees on the tracks; no one was hurt. Passengers on the first disabled train were put on a later train that also hit a fallen tree about a mile down the line, and the passengers were transferred again.
 
FATALITIES:
 
In Kansas, two traffic deaths Tuesday south of Pittsburg in Crawford County were blamed on the weather; a third, near Hesston, was believed weather related.
 
POWER OUTAGES:
 
By Wednesday evening, power outages remained above 1 million. They included: Pennsylvania, 750,000; Maryland, 140,000; New Jersey, 44,000; Arkansas, 48,000; Kentucky, 10,000; New York, 8,000; Delaware, 6,000; Indiana, 2,500; Connecticut, 300.
Published in National News

   HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A wintry storm pushing through the western half of the country is bringing bitterly cold temperatures that prompted safety warnings for residents in the Rockies and threatened crops as far south as California.

   The jet stream is much farther south than normal, allowing the cold air to push in from the Arctic and drop temperatures by 20 to 40 degrees below normal levels, AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kines said Tuesday.

   Areas of Montana and the Dakotas were forecast to reach lows in the minus-20s, while parts of California could see the thermometer drop to the 20s. The icy arctic blast was expected to be followed by another one later in the week, creating an extended period of cold weather that hasn't been seen since the late 1990s, meteorologists said.

   Officials warned residents to protect themselves against frostbite if they are going to be outside for any length of time.

   "When it gets this cold, you don't need 30, 40 mile-per-hour winds to get that wind chill down to dangerous levels. All it takes is a little breeze," Kines said.

   The storm hit the northern Rockies on Monday and Tuesday, dumping up to 2 feet of snow in the mountains and in Yellowstone National Park.

   Snow and ice created hazardous driving conditions throughout the West, and were a factor in a four-vehicle crash in central Montana that killed 21-year-old Chelsea Stanfield of Great Falls. Authorities said Stanfield was driving too fast for the conditions.

   The weather also closed a stretch of Interstate 90 on Tuesday between Sheridan and Buffalo, Wyo. In eastern Oregon, authorities closed much of Interstate 84 as trucks jackknifed in the snow. Transportation authorities in Utah and Nevada reported dozens of crashes.

   In the Dakotas, cattle ranchers who lost thousands of animals in an October blizzard were bracing for the latest wintry weather, with wind chills of 40 degrees below zero expected by week's end.

   Cattle should be able to withstand the harsh conditions better than they did the Oct. 4 blizzard, said Julie Ellingson, executive vice president of the North Dakota Stockmen's Association.

   "Cattle are a hardy species; they can endure a lot," she said. "With that October storm, they didn't have their winter hair coat yet. They've acquired some of that extra hair that will help insulate them better."

   The cold was expected to keep pushing south and bring near-record low temperatures to parts of California. Citrus famers in the Central Valley checked wind machines and ran water through their fields in anticipation of temperatures at or below freezing Tuesday night, followed by even colder weather on Saturday.

   However, farmers should not panic, said Bob Blakely of California Citrus Mutual, a trade association. Cold weather can be good for the crops, he said.

   "Trees and fruits need some of that cold weather to harden off and prepare for late December and January," he said.

   The system was pushing south, and Texans enjoying balmy 80-degree days should be seeing temperatures in the 40s by Thursday, Kines said.

   The cold air is expected to linger until next week then move east, where it will bring less-drastic temperature changes, he said.

Published in National News

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