Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Miserable Weather Hampers Broad Swath Of Nation ( wmtw news )

Roads Turn Deadly For Holiday Travelers
Miserable Weather Hampers Broad Swath Of Nation

At least 12 traffic deaths in the Midwest are blamed on icy and rain-slicked roads as holiday travelers struggle to reach their destinations by land and air.

The deaths were reported in Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Motorists elsewhere also found it tough going.

County dispatchers up and down the Ohio River said they have all been flooded with phones calls about slick roadways and minor crashes. The Ohio State Highway Patrol told TV station WTOV that they have dealt with more than 20 crashes.

Troopers said the state has been out spreading salt, and they have even called in extra crews to help out, but even the troopers' cruisers and snow equipment have been getting stuck on the roadways.

More snow is on the way today to the Midwest and Great Lakes even as many stranded, irate travelers try to reach their destinations between the snowflakes.

Pontiac, Mich., received 4 inches of new snow, while just to the south 0.20 inches of freezing rain fell at Boone and Madison, Ind.

But it's air and train travel that are especially snarled by snowstorms and cold. More than 500 flights have been canceled at Chicago' O'Hare Airport, and there are lots of delays.

At Chicago's Union Station, some Amtrak passengers waited almost a full day to board their trains. Each train delay caused a ripple effect, and several trains were canceled.

Passengers were especially upset with their treatment. It was so cold in Union Station that people could see their breath.

In the East, a strong low pressure system brought everything from winter weather to showers and thunderstorms to portions of the Northeast, the Great Lakes region, the Ohio and Tennessee Valley, and western parts of the Southeast. Snow, freezing rain and rain affected portions of the Northeast, the Great Lakes region and the Ohio Valley.

Further south across southern portions of the Ohio Valley, the Tennessee Valley, and western parts of the Southeast, precipitation stayed all rain and even a few embedded thunderstorms affected the Tennessee Valley and the Southeast.

To the west, widely scattered snow showers affected parts of the northern and central Plains and the Upper Midwest. The heaviest snows occurred at Bowdle, S.D., with 5 inches of new snow reported.

Further west, widely scattered rain and snow showers were experienced across the central and southern High Plains. Hart Prairie, Ariz., received 15 inches of new snow and 6 inches of snow fell at Hotchkiss, Colo. The coldest spot in the country Tuesday was Plentywood, Mont., with the mercury dipping down to -32 degrees.

On the West Coast, scattered rain showers began to move into portions of northern and central California as a strong Pacific storm system moved in.