Win­try mix of snow, freez­ing rain pum­mels mid-At­lantic states

Pawtucket Times - - BLACKSTONE VALLEY / NATION -

RICH­MOND, Va. (AP) — 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, 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 con­sid­ered life-threat­en­ing. The state med­i­cal ex­am­iner was ex­pected to de­ter­mine later whether Har­ris’ death was storm-re­lated.

Vir­ginia State Po­lice said they re­sponded to more than 230 traf­fic crashes and helped more than 100 dis­abled ve­hi­cles in Vir­ginia from mid­night to noon Sun­day.

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

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper de­clared a state of emer­gency Sun­day, seek­ing to help util­ity crews re­store elec­tric­ity more quickly af­ter power lines fell due to freez­ing rain, ice and top­pled trees. Ar­eas of 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 win­try mix was also caus­ing prob­lems at air­ports in the re­gion, in­clud­ing more than 250 flight can­cel­la­tions Sun­day at the three main air­ports serv­ing the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

The storm caused a va­ri­ety of can­cel­la­tions and clos­ings.

The Mary­land Zoo was closed to the pub­lic, with only es­sen­tial em­ploy­ees told to re­port to work. The Wash­ing­ton Metropoli­tan Area Tran­sit Author­ity can­celled its planned track work for the week­end.

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 shoul­der and head. The man died at a hospi­tal.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice re­ported close to a halfinch of ice in some sec­tions of west­ern North Carolina, lead­ing to fallen trees and power lines. The re­main­der of the state re­ceived mostly a cold rain or freez­ing pre­cip­i­ta­tion that caused few prob­lems

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, Mary­land, 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 Mon­day.

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 dur­ing the storm when a Good Samar­i­tan helped pull his ve­hi­cle out of the snow af­ter he got stuck on his way 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 man’s help. 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.

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