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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

The day's winter storm is forcing the cancellation of a meeting on unaccredited districts.

 

The hearing has been rescheduled for Wednesday from 6:30 - 8 PM at the UMSL JcPenny Conference Center. The meeting is being held so that state education officails can gather data as they look to craft a plan to aid and support failing school districts.

 

The public is invited to attend the hearing, and make comments. Comments will be limited to three minutes, and you must sign-up to make any comments. You can register here.

Published in Local News
   ATLANTA (AP) — Hundreds of drivers have been reunited with abandoned cars and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered state employees back to work as the Atlanta area rebounds from a winter storm that coated the area with snow and ice.
   Many school districts throughout the metro area announced that they'd remain closed Friday, and Deal extended a state of emergency to Sunday night.
   He said in a statement that the declaration was extended to allow the state to continue using certain resources to help local governments clear roads and deal with other storm-related issues. Deal and emergency response officials have taken responsibility for poor planning leading up to the storm.
   Temperatures in the region are expected to reach the low 50s Friday, which should help responders clear ice accumulations from roads.
Published in National News
   BOSTON (AP) — Snow blowers whirred and shovels scraped across sidewalks as the Northeast tried to keep up with a winter storm that swirled up the coast, creating blizzard conditions on Cape Cod, disrupting government work in Washington and leaving behind it bitter Canadian cold that sapped fuel supplies.
   The huge storm stretched from Kentucky to New England but hit hardest along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston. Snow began falling midmorning Tuesday in Philadelphia and had dumped as much as 13.5 inches by midnight, with New York seeing almost as much. Manalapan, N.J., had the highest snowfall reading with 16 inches.
   The storm, which dropped nearly a foot of snow in parts of Massachusetts, promised to create headaches for motorists in Boston on Wednesday morning. Commuters in Philadelphia and New York had packed early trains or spent hours inching along roads in swirling darkness to get home the night before.
   The New Yorkers and Bostonians who normally swarm Cape Cod in fishing hats or bikinis in July and August wouldn't recognize it this week. A blizzard warning through Wednesday afternoon kept business brisk at Aubuchon Hardware in Sandwich, where salt and snow shovels were popular.
   "The flow of customers is pretty steady, but everyone waits until the worst of the storm to start worrying," manager Jeff Butland said.
   Boston ordered schools closed Wednesday, following the lead the day before of many districts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. Federal workers in Washington also got a snow day Tuesday.
   Nearly 3,000 commercial flights were canceled Tuesday into and out of some of the nation's busiest airports, including in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, where Logan Airport advised passengers to expect extremely limited domestic service at least through Wednesday morning.
   At New York's LaGuardia Airport, congested even on a good day, a television monitor displayed a litany of canceled flights. Crowds of people who had been hoping to fly out instead gathered around ticket counters trying to make alternate arrangements.
   "We don't expect to get out here till 6 p.m. maybe, tomorrow," Paula Black said Tuesday after her flight to Chicago was canceled.
   Amtrak told passengers on its busiest line, the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, to expect fewer trains. Lines serving Harrisburg, Pa., and Albany, N.Y., also were slowed.
   The storm put a damper on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's inauguration, forcing the cancellation of a Tuesday evening gala on Ellis Island. In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick postponed his annual State of the State address, saying he was worried about guests trying to get to the Statehouse.
   On I-95, one of the nation's busiest highways, traffic was bumper to bumper Tuesday evening north of New York City, where some people simply gave up and tried to navigate side streets, creating another traffic jam in suburban New Rochelle.
   "I just want to get to the Bronx," Peter Neuwens said. "It's a big place. Why can't I get there?"
   The storm was a conventional one that developed off the coast and moved its way up the Eastern Seaboard, pulling in cold air from the Arctic. Unlike the epic freeze of two weeks ago, it was not caused by a kink in the polar vortex, the winds that circulate around the North Pole.
   Nonetheless, overnight temperatures in the single digits were expected in Philadelphia and New York, with wind chills dipping into the negative teens.
   The newest wave of cold air helped to deplete fuel supplies and send prices for propane and natural gas to record highs. Higher natural gas prices also are leading to sharply higher wholesale electricity prices as power utilities snap up gas at almost any price to run power plants to meet higher-than-normal winter demand.
   Propane users will get pinched the most. Those who find themselves suddenly needing to fill their tanks could be paying $100 to $200 more per fill-up than a month ago. Homeowners who use natural gas and electricity will see higher heating bills because they'll use more fuel. But prices won't rise dramatically because utilities buy only a small portion of the fuel at the elevated prices.
   The storm was blamed for at least one death in Maryland, after a car fishtailed into the path of a tractor-trailer on a snow-covered road about 50 miles northwest of Baltimore and the car's driver was ejected. Police said the storm might have claimed more lives: A preliminary investigation showed wet conditions played a role in a two-vehicle crash that killed two people in Prince George's County, Md.
Published in National News
   Residents in the St. Louis area are bracing for the next round of winter weather.  Snow, cold and wind... the next winter storm will have a little bit of everything.
   Overnight, widely scattered snow showers are expected to spread across the metro area ahead of a blast of arctic air.  Up to an inch or two of accumulation is possible by Tuesday morning, especially along and east of the Mississippi River.  Farther south and west could see just a dusting.  
   Then temperatures will nose-dive, dropping into the mid-teens by 6:00 a.m. with wind chills around zero.  That's because of strong winds from the northwest.
   A Wind Advisory is in effect until 6:00 a.m.  Sustained winds of 20 TO 30 mph are expected during the early morning hours, with gusts up to 45 mph.  The strong winds could make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles and in areas were there's snow falling.
  By 1 a.m., transportation officials were reporting roads in northeastern Missouri as snow-covered, including portions of Interstate 70 through Warren and Montgomery Counties.  Most roads in St. Charles and St. Louis Counties were reported to be partially snow covered.  Current road conditions can be found on MoDOT's traveler website
   Illinois officials report roads and highways in central and northern Illinois are snow covered.  Current conditions can be found on IDOT's winter road conditions website
 
 
 
Published in Local News

KTRS, St. Louis, MO - Snow, and lots of it, fell across the St. Louis area Sunday, wreaking havoc for road crews, firefighters and first responders.

Accumulation totals were in the double-digits in many areas with the depth at Lambert Airport officially measuring 10.8 inches. Downtown measured over a foot. The "precip" may have moved out, but life threatening temperatures have moved in and that is posing an extreme challenge.

A fire in St. Charles and one in Fairview Heights resulted in one death and several injuries yesterday. Fox2 News reports that four firefighters from the St. Charles Fire Department were injured Sunday night battling a house fire in the 600 block of Nancy Avenue. The family residing in the home escaped without injury. The firefighters were transported to St. John’s and Mercy hospitals. Three have been released and one is still receiving treatment. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Fox2 also reports the Fairview Heights Fire Department and the Illinois State Fire Marshals Office are investigating a fatal fire that broke out Sunday evening around 7 o'clock. Officials say the fire killed a Fairview Heights woman in a mobile home located in the 300 block of Union Hill Road. The identity of the woman has not been released pending notification of family.

Published in Local News
   LITCHFIELD, Maine (AP) — Some people in the United States and Canada who've been without electricity since Saturday may not get their lights back on for another day.
   That could change as more snow creeps into Maine and parts of Michigan and cold temperatures keep ice from melting off power lines and tree branches, posing new risks for outages.
   Utilities are advising customers that restoration efforts are being slowed by fallen trees.
   Tens of thousands of homes were still without power on Wednesday in Michigan, down from more than 500,000 at the storm's peak. Maine had about 60,000 without power, down from more than 100,000.
   Canadian utility officials warned that some customers could be without power until Saturday.
   The storm that started Saturday and continued Monday is being blamed for at least 27 deaths.
Published in National News
Friday, 13 December 2013 03:39

St. Louis prepares for second winter storm

   St. Louis is bracing for its next winter storm.  The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the entire metro area from noon Friday through 6:00 p.m. Saturday.  The forecast is calling for a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow.  
   That mix makes it tough for crews to get a head start by pre-treating roads.  
   St. Louis Streets Department spokesman Kent Flake told Fox 2 News there's not much the crews can do to prepare for a winter storm that starts with rain.  "Any time it rains, you can't brine, you can't pre-treat," he said.  "Anything you put on the street just washes down the drains.  So this is when we just have to sit back and wait for it to actually snow and take care of it."
   Flake says city crews and trucks are standing by, ready to begin spreading salt brine as soon as frozen precipitation begins to fall.  
   By contrast, MoDOT and IDOT officials opted to begin pre-treating roads Thursday.
   MoDOT spokesman Drew Gates says they wanted to err on the side of caution. "Just to make sure that if we do start off with some ice, that we have something on the roadway that will help start that melting process and try to keep it from locking down into the roads," Gates said. 
 
 
Published in Local 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
Saturday, 23 March 2013 07:20

Storm could dump up to 8 inches of snow

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Midwest is gearing up for its third major storm in a month, with up to a foot of snow expected barely a week after some cities saw record highs.

The storm system also could generate thunderstorms and tornadoes in parts of the South this weekend.

The National Weather Service says up to a foot of snow could start falling on northwest Kansas on Friday night, while Kansas City, Missouri, Indianapolis and Omaha, Nebraska could get up to 8 inches. Snow is expected to start in those cities late Saturday afternoon and continue through midday Sunday.

The system is expected to carry snow into the Northeast early next week.

In the South, forecasters say the system could spark tornadoes in Louisiana and Mississippi on Saturday.
Published in Local News
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