Weekend winter storm does damage across several states

Jackknifed tractor trailer on I-65 in Indiana near the Roselawn rest area, Saturday, January 19, 2019. (Photo: @brandoiam on Twitter)

From Kansas to Maine, roads are covered with ice and a lot of snow from a storm that hit the Midwest and Northeast regions for the second consecutive weekend. In the Northeast in particular, the storm grounded thousands of flights, hundreds of crashes were reported, and tens of thousands of customers still have no electricity. There were also several storm-related deaths.

Record Snowfall

Record snowfall was reported from upstate New York to northern Maine. These are storm totals from Friday, January 18 through Sunday, January 20.

Caribou, Maine 20.1” (Daily record of 16.9” on Sunday)
Burlington, Vermont 17.6” (Daily record of 15.6” on Sunday)
Rochester, New York 17.2” (Daily record of 7.8” on Saturday)
Albany, New York 14.7” (Daily record of 10.4” on Sunday)
Buffalo, New York 14.2”Cleveland, Ohio 8.9”

Transportation Troubles

Ice, heavy snow, and strong winds caused thousands of flight delays and cancellations, according to Flightaware.

Last Friday, Southwest Airlines 1643 slid off the runway at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska (ICAO code: OMA) after landing around 2:00 p.m. local time. Freezing drizzle was falling at the time. A United Airlines jetliner slid off the runway the next morning after landing at O’Hare International Airport (ICAO code: ORD). No one was injured when the flight from Phoenix to Chicago rolled off the concrete surface into a grassy area.

Ahead of the storm, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf issued a state of emergency, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) temporarily lowered speed limits and banned commercial vehicles from highways.

A 15-vehicle pileup on I-55 near Thayer, Missouri, temporarily closed a section of the interstate in the southeastern part of the state. Jackknifed tractor trailers blocked sections of interstate highways in Indiana (cover photo) and Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Transportation said Saturday at least five snowplows had been hit by passing vehicles in the past 24 hours.

Storm-related Deaths

A falling tree killed a utility subcontractor Sunday afternoon in Middletown, Connecticut, WVIT-TV reported. Middletown Police said the Eversource subcontractor had finished repairing a line when a tree fell on him. His name has not been released as of noon today (Monday).

On Saturday, Kansas Department of Transportation worker Stephen Winder was killed in a rollover crash during snow removal in Johnson County. No other vehicles were involved in the crash. Winder, 25 years old, died after the rig he was driving rolled over around 6:00 a.m. local time. He was reportedly thrown from the vehicle, which then landed on top of him. The crash is under investigation.

In addition, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported two deaths from weather-related crashes.

Power Outages

As of noon today more than 10,000 people in Connecticut are still without electricity, according to the website. Crews continue working to restore power to these customers.

Lingering Effects

Driving will remain risky across portions of the Midwest and Northeast due to black ice and lack of snow melt. Temperatures will remain bitterly cold for at least another day with Wind Chill Warnings still posted for many areas through tonight. Please dress warmly and stay safe!

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Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist

In his 17 years of weather forecasting experience, Nick worked on air at WBBJ-TV and WRCB-TV, including time spent doing weather analysis and field reporting. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Nick is also 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 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” for eight consecutive years. Nick earned his National Weather Association Broadcasting Seal in 2005.