Winter storm forces airline cancellations, road troubles

January 19, 2019 09:14 PM

A plane carrying 129 people skidded Saturday from a slick Chicago runway and a plow driver was killed when his truck rolled over outside Kansas City following a winter storm that covered many parts of the Midwest in snow and ice.

No injuries were reported on the United Airlines flight at O'Hare International Airport as it arrived Saturday morning from Phoenix, Chicago Fire officials said. The massive storm which dumped 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow on some areas in the Midwest prompted the cancellation of nearly 1,000 flights at Chicago's airports. The average delay at O'Hare was nearly an hour Saturday afternoon.

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Kansas Department of Transportation snowplow Stephen Windler, 25, died about 6 a.m. Saturday on U.S. Highway 69, according to the Wichita Eagle. A police crash report says his truck "traveled to the right, traversing the shoulder and drove into the grass" before it rolled over. Windler was thrown from the vehicle which landed on top of him.

The storm moved Saturday toward the Northeast and New England. Some northern parts of New England could see up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow.

A 15-vehicle crash blocked a section of Interstate 55 in southeastern Missouri near Ste. Genevieve Saturday afternoon and drivers were urged to find an alternative route. In Detroit, many motorists were moving well below posted speed limits along freeways due to slushy conditions. Amtrak canceled some trains Saturday from Chicago to Washington and New York and between New York and Boston and Pennsylvania on Sunday.

In Nebraska, authorities closed Omaha's Eppley Airfield on Friday afternoon after a Southwest Airlines plane slid off an ice-slicked runway. No one was injured. The airfield later reopened.

The snow was part of a wall of hazardous weather that moved from the Dakotas across the Great Lakes states. The storm brought snow, ice and strong winds, followed by deep cold. The highest snowfall totals were expected in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, which could see up to 18 inches (46) centimeters.

But some Midwesterners weren't going to let a little winter weather keep them from going outside.

In downtown Detroit, Celeste Tremmel was out training for a marathon amid heavy and steady snowfall.

"When you run a marathon, you run no matter the weather," said Tremmel, who plans to run a March marathon in South Carolina.

Running in snow is "like running in sand, so you go a lot slower and it's a lot more work," she said. "I'm really tired ... but 40 degrees, wind and hail is worse."


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Winter storm warning issued for parts of SW Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin


Further east, the National Weather Service in Albany, New York, said snow could fall at a rate of 1 to 3 inches (2.5-7.5 centimeters) an hour, creating "difficult to impossible travel conditions" in areas.

The storm prompted the cancellation of a Special Olympics competition in upstate New York. Nearly 200 athletes from around New York state were expected to compete in snowshoeing, snowboarding, cross country, and Nordic and Alpine skiing at West Mountain, just outside Glens Falls.

In New York City, the worst of the storm was expected from Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, with snow accumulations of 3-6 inches (7.5-15 centimeters), followed by rain that could turn to ice as temperatures drop later Sunday. Single-digit temperatures could last into Monday. Strong wind gusts beginning Sunday afternoon could bring down snow- or ice-burdened tree limbs and power lines.

Following the storm system, some areas of the Midwest were expecting high winds and bitter cold.

In Iowa, temperatures in the teens Saturday were expected to drop below zero (-17 Celsius) overnight, producing wind chills as low as 20-below (-29 Celsius) by Sunday morning. 

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Credits

Associated Press

(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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