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Dealing with the impacts of weekend storm

Accident on I-70 in Cooper County, Missouri during last weekend’s snow storm. (Photo: Missouri State Highway Patrol)

The snow storm over the weekend pretty much panned out like meteorologists across the country had predicted – large amounts of snow from the nation’s heartland to the nation’s capital, causing problems for people traveling through the air and on the roads. State troopers and first responders had their hands full dealing with accidents, and several people were killed because of the storm.

Record Snowfall

Huge amounts of snow fell from Kansas to Virginia from last Friday through Sunday, making for a winter wonderland in many areas. Columbia, Missouri had the highest storm total among small cities, nearly 17 inches. Also, Columbia set daily records for the most January 11 and January 12 snowfalls with 10.4 inches and 5.8 inches, respectively.

Dulles International Airport (ICAO code: IAD) in the Washington, D.C. metro area set a daily record for January 13 after 7.7 inches of snow accumulated, the most for the date since 1964. The storm total there was 10.6 inches. The 6.9 inches reported at Indianapolis International Airport (ICAO code: IND) on Saturday, January 12 tied the daily record from 1964.

Freezing rain also iced over parts of the southern Appalachians, including southern Virginia and western North Carolina.

 Ice build up in Boone, North Carolina on Sunday, January 13, 2019.  (Photo: @clancaster0523 on Twitter)
Ice build up in Boone, North Carolina on Sunday, January 13, 2019. (Photo: @clancaster0523 on Twitter)

Ugly Side of the Storm

Unfortunately, several people died because of the massive storm. Missouri took the brunt of the storm damage, logging more than 800 snow-related crashes that injured 57 people and killed four, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Among those killed were a 53-year-old woman and a 14-year-old relative of hers. Authorities say the woman lost control while driving on a snow-covered road in rural Missouri on Friday when she drifted into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Authorities say Illinois State Trooper Christopher Lambert, a five-year veteran of the force, was killed in the line of duty on Saturday in a Chicago suburb. He was standing outside his patrol car at the scene of a crash when a driver hit him. Lambert later died at a hospital. Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz told reporters at a news conference that Lambert’s death is still under investigation, although the snowfall could have been a factor. The state police said earlier on Saturday that they responded to more than 200 snow-related crashes, including one that generated another fatality.

Three storm-related deaths were reported in Kansas, including a crash involving a 62-year-old man who lost control along the Kansas Turnpike. His vehicle rotated counterclockwise before crashing into a barrier wall, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Air Travel Troubles

According to the Flightaware flight tracking website, thousands of flights were delayed or canceled over the weekend, most of them at Washington D.C.’s Ronald Reagan National Airport (ICAO code: DCA), where snow was recorded for 35 straight hours (from 3:00 p.m. Saturday until 2:00 a.m. Monday). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded flights at Dulles International Airport, but the FAA is no longer reporting major delays at these airports, according to its website.

 Flights grounded at Dulles International Airport on Sunday, January 13, 2019.
Flights grounded at Dulles International Airport on Sunday, January 13, 2019.

Power Outages

Electrical power lines in many areas buckled under the weight of ice and heavy snow. At 2:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, reported more than 282,000 customers without power in Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia. Within 24 hours, power had been restored to around 40 percent of those people. Crews continue to work around the clock, when possible, to get the electricity back on for remaining customers who are in the dark. reports as of 2:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 14, 2019. reports as of 2:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 14, 2019.

Another snow storm next weekend could hit some of the same areas previously discussed. Look for updates on the FreightWaves website throughout the week.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.