Storm cuts power, snarls traffic as ice grips Pa.
By RON TODT and MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press : February 5, 2014 : Updated: February 5, 2014 4:06pm
Photo By Matt Rourke/AP
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A downed tree covered in ice lays atop a minivan after a winter storm Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Philadelphia. Icy conditions have knocked out power to more than 200,000 electric customers in southeastern Pennsylvania and prompted school and legislative delays as well as speed reductions on major roadways.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A coating of ice and slush took down power lines and trees, closed schools and snarled traffic in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, the latest insult in what has been a long winter of weather-related injury.
About 750,000 customers were without power, Gov. Tom Corbett said in a briefing in the headquarters of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency outside Harrisburg.
“People are going to have to have some patience at this point,” Corbett said, warning that an overnight refreeze could cause more problems on the roads Thursday.
PECO, which was working to restore power to more than 500,000 customers Wednesday afternoon, warned that it could take until the weekend for some people get their electricity back.
The storm piled up to a foot of new powder along the state’s northern tier and coated the southeastern quadrant with a layer of ice that gave trees a picturesque, frosty sheen but brought down limbs and trees from Gettysburg to Philadelphia.
Long stretches of the Pennsylvania Turnpike were under speed and trailer restrictions all morning, but those rules were lifted as the weather warmed and some melting began.
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Lights out for 1M as winter storm slams Northeast
Posted: Feb 04, 2014 11:30 PM CST Updated: Feb 05, 2014 3:52 PM CST
By The Associated Press
Winter-weary residents of the Northeast contended with another dose of snow, sleet and freezing rain Wednesday. The second winter storm of the week canceled classes, closed government and business offices, and caused more than 1 million power outages across the region after wreaking similar havoc in the Midwest on Tuesday. Around a foot of snow fell in some states. Combined with freezing rain and sleet, the snow made driving treacherous. The storm was the second go-round for the Northeast since a good coating of snow fell Monday.
Ice and snow brought down trees and limbs and knocked out power to some 750,000 customers. Most of the outages were in the Philadelphia suburbs, and PECO, the major utility company, warned it could be the weekend before some people get their lights back on. The Pennsylvania Turnpike was closed around Harrisburg, the state capital, for more than 13 hours after a fatal crash Tuesday night. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Administration reported delays and some cancellations on suburban Philadelphia routes, while Amtrak suspended its Philadelphia-to-Harrisburg service indefinitely because of downed trees on wires and along tracks. Many schools were closed.
Up to a foot of snow fell in places upstate; hundreds of schools upstate were closed. Four inches of snow and a quarter-inch of ice covered New York City. The state deployed 3,500 tons of stockpiled road salt to New York City, where supplies were running low, while plows and other heavy equipment aimed to keep roads clear. A 65-mile stretch of Interstate 84 between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut borders was closed to all vehicles until mid-afternoon. The Metropolitan Transit Authority said Metro-North Railroad service was reduced by 18 percent on morning trains.
Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency and state offices were closed for non-essential employees, as the state got snow in northern parts, sleet and freezing rain in some areas, and all rain in southern counties. Tens of thousands of customers were without power, and schools were closed or delayed. NJ Transit operated on a storm schedule. Buses and trains were cross-honoring tickets.
The state received more than 6 inches of snow in some areas, snarling traffic and keeping towing operators busy. AAA Michigan got at least 1,100 calls for service Wednesday morning. Authorities reported several multi-vehicle crashes after snow fell along Interstate 94 in the Jackson area; traffic accidents closed parts of Interstate 69 around Flint. The storm also snarled traffic in southern Michigan, including Detroit. Two planes became stuck on taxiways at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, requiring trucks to push or pull the regional Delta jets to free them.
Most of Ohio was hit with heavy snow and freezing rain, closing hundreds schools and creating extremely hazardous driving conditions. Four to 8 inches of snow fell overnight Tuesday. Many counties declared snow emergencies. “I wish that groundhog would have stayed in its hole,” said Geoff Dunn, who took the bus to his downtown Columbus office. “Finding us six more weeks of winter was not the smart move.” The National Weather Service said most Ohio cities already have seen anywhere from 15 to 30 inches more snow than is normal at this stage of winter because of the frequent winter storms.
A Chicago runner was credited with helping save a man who fell into icy Lake Michigan with his dog. Adam Dominik says he found twine and anchored it around himself while throwing the other end in the water, pulling the man onto nearby rocks. Meanwhile, a skier called 911. Rescuers pulled the man the rest of the way to safety. He was taken to a hospital. Both he and his dog were expected to recover.
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