Win­try mix pum­mels mid-At­lantic re­gion

Snow, icy rain blamed for 5 deaths, hun­dreds of crashes

Albuquerque Journal - - NEWS - BY DENISE LAVOIE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A win­ter storm that con­trib­uted to at least five deaths in the Mid­west pum­meled the mid-At­lantic re­gion for a sec­ond day Sun­day, bring­ing with it an icy mix that knocked out power, can­celled flights and con­trib­uted to hun­dreds of car ac­ci­dents.

Vir­ginia state po­lice said the driver of a mil­i­tary sur­plus ve­hi­cle was killed late Satur­day af­ter he lost con­trol on In­ter­state 81 be­cause of slick road con­di­tions.

Po­lice said Ron­ald W. Har­ris, 73, of Gainesville, Ga., died af­ter his ve­hi­cle was struck by two trac­tor-trail­ers. The two trac­tor-trailer driv­ers were taken to a hospi­tal for in­juries that were not lifethreat­en­ing. The state med­i­cal ex­am­iner de­ter­mined Sun­day that Har­ris’ death was storm-re­lated, po­lice said.

Vir­ginia State Po­lice said they re­sponded to more than 300 traf­fic crashes and helped nearly 200 dis­abled ve­hi­cles in Vir­ginia from mid­night to late Sun­day af­ter­noon.

The storm knocked out power to nearly 200,000 peo­ple in Vir­ginia and North Carolina at its height Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to Pow­erOu­tage.us.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper de­clared a state of emer­gency Sun­day to help util­ity crews re­store elec­tric­ity more quickly af­ter power lines fell be­cause of freez­ing rain, ice and top­pled trees. The state’s west­ern moun­tains and foothills were hard­est-hit along with the west­ern Pied­mont re­gion and nearly 1,000 state trans­porta­tion work­ers were called out to clear ice and snow.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice re­ported nearly a half-inch of ice in some sec­tions of west­ern North Carolina, lead­ing to fallen trees and power lines but other ar­eas of the state got mostly a cold rain or freez­ing pre­cip­i­ta­tion.

Mean­while, the storm caused headaches for trav­el­ers into and out of air­ports in the re­gion, in­clud­ing more than 250 flight can­cel­la­tions Sun­day at the three main air­ports serv­ing the na­tion’s cap­i­tal. Wash­ing­ton’s Dulles In­ter­na­tional Air­port tweeted that the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion had im­ple­mented a ground stop there on Sun­day evening, im­pact­ing both in­bound and out­bound flights.

For air trav­el­ers, the Dullest air­port author­ity sub­se­quently tweeted tips for fly­ing on a snow day, in­clud­ing fre­quently check­ing for air­line flight changes and pack­ing “pa­tience, a good dose of snow hu­mor & a packet of hot choco­late.”

By late Sun­day af­ter­noon, the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., metro area, north­ern Vir­ginia and parts of Mary­land had to­tal snow­fall ac­cu­mu­la­tions rang­ing from five to eight inches. Cen­tral Vir­ginia, in­clud­ing Rich­mond, had much smaller ac­cu­mu­la­tions — as lit­tle as one inch — but the snow was fol­lowed by hours of sleet and freez­ing rain.

Marc Chenard, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist with the Weather Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter in Col­lege Park, Md., said parts of the re­gion could ex­pect snow to con­tinue fall­ing into Sun­day evening.

“At this point, it is just go­ing to head out to sea once it ex­its here this evening,” Chenard said.

Most pub­lic school sys­tems in north­ern Vir­ginia and Prince Ge­orge’s County schools in sub­ur­ban Mary­land said classes would be can­celled to­day.

The storm also was af­fected parts of Mary­land. In Bal­ti­more, a man was fa­tally shot as he shov­eled snow early Sun­day morn­ing. Po­lice said a 43-year-old man was out­side shov­el­ing at 4:40 a.m. when an uniden­ti­fied sus­pect shot him in the head and shoul­der. The vic­tim died at a hospi­tal.

Mean­while, Illi­nois was try­ing to dig out from un­der heavy snow­fall in some ar­eas.

Spring­field’s State Jour­nal-Reg­is­ter re­ports the state cap­i­tal broke a 55-year record for daily snow­fall on Satur­day. It cited the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice as say­ing the 8.4 inches of snow that day in Spring­field broke the pre­vi­ous record for a Jan. 12 in 1964 of 6.6 inches. Some 11.5 inches of snow fell on Spring­field over three days.

Among those killed in the Mid­west dur­ing the storm was an Illi­nois state trooper struck by a car when he re­sponded to a three-ve­hi­cle crash Satur­day in sub­ur­ban Chicago.

State Po­lice Direc­tor Leo Sch­mitz told re­porters that 34-year-old Christo­pher Lambert was headed home when he pulled over and got out of his squad car to re­spond to the ac­ci­dent. Sch­mitz said Lambert po­si­tioned his squad car to pro­tect the other three cars and “took on the dan­ger him­self.”

For Kansas City Chiefs of­fen­sive guard Jeff Allen, there was a bright spot when a Good Samar­i­tan helped pull his ve­hi­cle out of the snow af­ter he got stuck en route to Ar­row­head Sta­dium for the di­vi­sional play­off game Satur­day.

Allen said he made it on time for the Chiefs’ vic­tory over the In­di­anapo­lis Colts be­cause of the as­sis­tance. The man who helped Allen didn’t know he was a Chiefs player at the time.

Allen turned to Twit­ter to track down the Good Samar­i­tan. When they con­nected Sun­day morn­ing, Allen thanked him and promised him tick­ets to next week’s AFC Cham­pi­onship game.

TED SCHURTER/THE STATE JOUR­NAL-REG­IS­TER

Mor­gan Miller car­ries her 1-year-old daugh­ter Mia Jen­nings in one arm as she shov­els the stairs to her Spring­field, Illi­nois, home with the other Sun­day.

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