Snowstorm socks US East: A look at the effects by state
A massive winter storm buried much of the U.S. East Coast in a foot or more of snow by Saturday, shutting down transit in major cities, stranding drivers on snowbound highways, knocking out power to tens of thousands of people. A look at some of the impacts by state:
Firefighters helped about a dozen people Saturday evacuate Oak Orchard, a low-lying community in southern Delaware that often floods during storms. Part of Route 1, a costal artery, was closed because of sand and water. Officials reported numerous dune breaches along the coast and significant flooding of low-lying communities around Delaware’s inland bays. More than 5,000 homes and businesses lost power.
Utilities had restored power to more than 66,000 customers since the storm began there early Friday, though a few thousand more were still without service, a Georgia Power spokesman said.
Motorists got stuck overnight Friday on Interstate 75 south of Lexington as wrecks and blowing snow brought traffic to a halt. Officials went from vehicle to vehicle, checking on marooned drivers; distributing water, fuel and snacks; and helping people get to shelters set up at churches and public schools along the highway. But some drivers said they were too far away to make it to the shelters. The road reopened early Saturday. Elsewhere, a transportation worker died while plowing snow-covered highways near Bowling Green early Saturday, and a man died when his car collided with a salt truck on a southeastern Kentucky road Thursday, state police said.
Snow pros in the Bangor Police Department offered advice both practical and humorous to points south, instructing the snowbound to keep generators gassed up but outside. Running a generator inside can result in deadly carbon monoxide filling the house. The department noted that people do try this but “usually only one time.” The Facebook posted added, “The men and women of the Bangor Police Department are rooting for you. You got this.”
A 60-year-old man shoveling snow in the Fort Washington area died after an apparent heart attack, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department spokesman Mark Brady said. The death came shortly after the department issued an advisory suggesting that people over 50 and those with heart conditions to get someone else to shovel for them. At least 2,000 homes and businesses statewide lost power.
A string of seaside resort towns were temporarily isolated by flood waters when the tide rushed in Saturday, officials said. No injuries were immediately reported in the coastal towns, which some residents had voluntarily evacuated, Cape May County spokeswoman Diane Wieland said. More than 90,000 homes and businesses lost power. Gov. Chris Christie said he saw some plows that had come to a stop because they were blocked by cars that got stuck in the snow on highways.
Broadway shows were abruptly canceled and drivers were ordered to stay off New York City roads and Long Island highways. Above-ground subway lines, city buses and many commuter trains were also affected as the storm proved worse than expected in the nation’s biggest city. Hudson River crossings including the George Washington Bridge and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels were closed to regular traffic. Police said they had responded to more than 200 car accidents and 300 disabled vehicles citywide.
Five people, including a 4-year-old boy, were killed in wrecks amid the storm, authorities said. And a man was arrested on charges of killing a motorist who stopped to help after the suspect’s car slid off an ice-covered road outside Charlotte. The 27-year-old became agitated and started shooting after a passing truck with three men stopped to help around nightfall Friday, local media reported. He was being held Saturday for a court appearance Monday; jail records listed no defense attorney who could comment on the charges. About 150,000 homes and businesses lost power.
Hocking College, a small institution in Nelsonville, canceled classes and events.
Many travelers including teams of college athletes and a church group got stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the western part of the state. The Temple University women’s gymnastics team and the Duquesne University’s men’s basketball team were stuck in their buses for hours, as was a church group of 96 mostly teenage parishioners home to Indiana from the March for Life in Washington. The National Guard was called out to provide food, water, tire chains and shovels, and emergency workers on all-terrain vehicles checked on stranded motorists. Officials closed a 90-mile stretch of the roadway to allow maintenance workers to focus on those who were stuck.
Two people were killed as cars slid off icy roads in Tennessee. One vehicle plummeted down a 300-foot embankment Wednesday night, killing the driver, whose husband survived and climbed up over several hours to report the wreck. Nashville saw its heaviest snowfall in nearly 20 years as the storm caused gridlock on streets and highways in Middle Tennessee. Eight inches of snow fell at Nashville International Airport, the most since Nashville logged 8.7 inches of snow on March 19, 1996, National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Rose said.
A driver was killed in Chesapeake Friday after his car veered off a snowy highway and hit a tree, police said. Statewide, police grappled with over 1,000 car crashes and more than 1,000 disabled vehicles as snow piled up Friday and Saturday. A theater on the National Register of Historic Places was badly damaged by the weather, a county official said. Donk’s Theater opened in 1947 and was known as “Home of Virginia’s Lil’ Ole Opry.”
Mass transit was shut down in the nation’s capital, where the federal government had closed its offices at noon Friday. Monuments normally busy with tourists were largely deserted as snow made the steps of the Lincoln Memorial look almost like a short ski slope. President Barack Obama, hunkered down at the White House, was one of many who stayed home. But a video of one of the Smithsonian National Zoo’s four pandas enjoying the snow there Saturday was a bright spot amid the storm clouds, drawing 1.7 million views on Facebook.
As many as 200 vehicles, most of them tractor-trailers, were stranded overnight Friday on Interstate 77 north of Charleston, said C.W. Sigman of the Kanawha County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The logjam was cleared by noon Saturday, with a fleet of wreckers pulled out stuck vehicles. Roman Catholics were relieved of their obligation to attend Mass because of the snowstorm, as Bishop Michael J. Bransfield encouraged prayers for those in the path of the storm.