Storm punishes swath of U.S. with snow, ice, freezing rain
A winter storm that contributed to at least five deaths in the Midwest pummeled the midAtlantic 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, Georgia, 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 life-threatening. 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 that caused few problems
The wintry mix did, however, cause problems at airports in the region, including more than 250 flight cancellations Sunday at the three main airports serving the nation’s capital.
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.
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.