Winter-weary residents of the Northeast are getting another dose of snow, sleet and freezing rain. The second winter storm of the week is canceling classes, closing government and business offices, and causing hundreds of thousands of power outages across the region after wreaking similar havoc in the Midwest on Tuesday. Anywhere from a few inches to a foot or more of snow was expected to fall Wednesday on East Coast states, while some were getting freezing rain and sleet that made driving treacherous. It’s their second go-round since a good coating of snow fell on Monday.
Icy conditions knocked out power to more than 600,000 customers in eastern and central Pennsylvania and caused school and legislative delays as well as speed reductions on major roadways. Falling trees became a hazard for motorists.
The great bulk of the outages were in the five-county Philadelphia region, most of them in the suburbs.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike ordered speed limits reduced to 45 mph and banned empty tractor-trailers until further notice. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation also dropped speed limits to 45 mph on a number of roads.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Administration reported delays and some cancellations on suburban Philadelphia routes, while Amtrak suspended its Philadelphia-to-Harrisburg service because of downed trees on wires and along tracks.
New York state deployed more than 2,000 plows and other pieces of heavy equipment to keep roads clear during a storm that has forced the closure of one major highway and hundreds of schools upstate. Up to a foot of snow fell in some upstate areas, while lesser amounts and a coating of ice were expected in New York City.
A 65-mile stretch of Interstate 84 between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut borders was closed to all vehicles.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority says 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 was operating on a storm schedule. Buses and trains were cross-honoring tickets.
AAA Michigan got at least 1,100 calls for service as of Wednesday morning, with the heaviest volume during the rush-hour commute.
Authorities reported several multi-vehicle crashes after several inches of snow along Interstate 94 in the Jackson area, including some with injuries, and crashes closed portions of I-69 in the Flint area.
The storm also snarled traffic in southern Michigan, including the Detroit area, with accidents reported in Grand Rapids and Saginaw.
Two planes became stuck on taxiways at snowy Detroit Metropolitan Airport, requiring trucks to push or pull the regional Delta jets out of the snow.
Most of Ohio was hit with another bout or heavy snow and freezing rain, closing hundreds schools and creating extremely hazardous driving conditions.
Much of the state was slammed with 4 to 8 inches of snow overnight. 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, avoiding the messy roads but still having to navigate snowy sidewalks. “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 the winter in about 10 significant 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 before loading him on a makeshift gurney.
He was taken to a hospital to be treated for severe hypothermia. He and his dog are expected to recover.
Nearly all schools in Rhode Island were closed.
State Police responded to 16 accidents before 8:45 a.m., after which road conditions appeared to be improving, with snow turning to sleet and rain in some areas. The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority warned of delays.
Connecticut’s governor and legislative leaders agreed to delay the start of the General Assembly’s annual session from Wednesday to Thursday because of snow.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also ordered a delayed opening for state offices on Wednesday. Many schools were closed.
Metro-North canceled and combined some trains on the New Haven Line.
Snow that began falling on Tuesday is expected to leave several inches by early Wednesday.
Authorities say road conditions may have contributed to a vehicle collision in Des Moines that killed one person.
Gov. Sam Brownback ordered state offices in the Topeka area closed for a second consecutive day because of a winter storm.
The Legislature also canceled all of its meetings Wednesday.
Authorities blamed slick conditions for a two-car crash in southeast Kansas that killed two people.
Freezing rain and ice that moved through Kentucky overnight left thousands of people without power.
According to the Public Service Commission, most of the outages were reported in Jefferson County, which had about 10,000 customers without power early Wednesday.
The National Weather Service reported the winter storm that hit Tuesday evening left about a quarter-inch of ice over much of the central and northern regions of the state.
The weather led several schools systems to cancel classes.
The snowstorm hit western portions of the state in the pre-dawn hours, leading Boston, Worcester and Springfield, among other cities, to close schools and ban street parking to prepare for snow removal.
Gov. Deval Patrick told all non-essential state employees working in the executive branch to stay home.
Classes were canceled at many Oklahoma schools, including Oklahoma City, because of subzero wind chill values that reached 10 degrees below zero.
A Southwest Airlines jet arriving from Denver got stuck in a snow bank Tuesday evening at Kansas City International Airport. A Southwest spokesman said all 55 passengers on Flight 305, a Boeing 737, were placed on buses and taken to the terminal.
Severe winter conditions caused officials to ask thousands of homeowners in far northern Wisconsin to leave their faucets running 24 hours a day to prevent water pipes and sewer lines from freezing.
The 9,000 Rhinelander residents won’t be charged for using the extra water. Temperatures in the area are expected to be below zero for much of the week.
At the Mount Sunapee Resort ski area, the lot was filling up with skiers undeterred by a trek through the snow, which could accumulate anywhere from 7 to 14 inches.
In Newport, the snow helped pick up the pace of ticket sales for an outdoor “Yankee Luau” on the town common Wednesday as part of the town’s 98th Winter Carnival.
“The South gets an inch and shuts down and we get a foot and we’re gonna throw a party,” Newport Recreation Director P.J Lovely said. “We’re hardy.”
Lovely said the snow bodes well for skijoring events this weekend – a popular attraction that had to be canceled the past two years amid lack of snow. The sport features horseback riders towing a person on skis over jumps and through other obstacles.
In Kansas, two traffic deaths Tuesday south of Pittsburg in Crawford County were blamed on the weather.
Pennsylvania, 600,000; Maryland, 140,000; New Jersey, 62,000; Arkansas, 48,000; Kentucky, 10,000; Delaware, 6,000; Indiana, 2,500; Connecticut, 300.