Entries in Blizzard (17)


Deadly Blizzard Pummels Midwest, Brings Hurricane-Force Winds

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A deadly blizzard is burying much of the Midwest, closing highways, knocking out power to thousands and packing hurricane-force winds to an area that was socked by a ferocious storm last week.

The blizzard, which dumped more than 19 inches on Amarillo, Texas, and brought 75 mph wind gusts, made its way east overnight to Kansas.  More than 5 inches have fallen in Wichita and forecasters said that 8 to 14 inches of snow could fall before the system moves through the state by late Tuesday afternoon.

Kansas was still digging out from last week's storm that dumped more than foot of snow on parts of the state.

Two deaths are being blamed on the blizzard conditions, while three other deaths are being attributed to strong wind gusts produced by the storm system.

The violent winds fueled a devastating fire in San Antonio that burned one mobile home Monday afternoon, killing a mother and her twin toddlers.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation, according to ABC News affiliate KSAT-TV.

The storm will lose intensity as it moves northeast, bringing snow to Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.  Chicago will get slammed with 3 to 6 inches of snow later on Tuesday.

By the time it hits the East Coast later in the week, it will be mostly rain, with parts of upstate New York and New Hampshire seeing 3 to 6 inches of snow.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


After Blizzard, Northeast Begins to Dig Out

MTA Long Island Rail Road(NEW YORK) -- The Northeast began the arduous process of cleaning up after a fierce storm swept through the region leaving behind up to three feet of snow in some areas.

The storm stretched from New Jersey to Maine, affecting more than 25 million people, with more than two feet of snow falling in areas of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

Nearly 600,000 customers are without power in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine, according to reports from electric companies on Saturday afternoon.

As the storm waned, officials in the hardest hit areas cautioned residents to remain indoors and off the roads to ease the clean-up.

Massachusetts was hard hit by the storm, with more than two feet of snow in Boston and even more in coastal areas. State police and national guard troops helped rescue more than 50 stranded motorists and even helped deliver a baby girl, according to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Patrick enacted the first statewide driving ban since the 1978 blizzard, which left 27 inches of snow and killed dozens. The ban was lifted at 4 p.m. on Saturday, the governor said.

However, Patrick cautioned residents to act with extreme caution even after the ban is over.

In New York, a little more than 11 inches fell in the city.

By Saturday morning, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said nearly all of the primary roads had been plowed and the department of sanitation anticipated that all roads would be plowed by the end of the day.

"It looks like we dodged a bullet, but keep in mind winter is not over," said Bloomberg.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Northeast Braces for Monster Blizzard

Comstock/Thinkstock (file photo)(NEW YORK) -- Millions of people in the Northeast are bracing for what some forecasters say could be a historic snowstorm this weekend.

A blizzard warning is in effect Friday for seven states, stretching from New Jersey and New York City up through Maine. The worst of the storm is expected to hit late Friday afternoon into Saturday morning.

While only a few inches of snow are forecast to fall in Philadelphia, New York City could see up to 14 inches of the white stuff.  Cities in New England, like Boston and Portland, Maine, may see up to two feet or more.

The storm is also expected to bring strong wind gusts, ranging from 50 to 70 mph. That could mean coastal flooding in areas near the water.

More than 3,000 flights have already been cancelled in response. Amtrak is also planning to suspend its train service in the Northeast Friday afternoon.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Winter Storm Could Bring Three Feet of Snow to Colorado 

Comstock/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Record-setting snowfall is accumulating across the Midwest where areas of many states are under winter weather warnings, advisories, or even blizzard warnings until at least Friday evening.

The snow began early Friday morning and has been falling at rates of two to three inches per hour. Areas near Boulder have reported over 26 inches of snow, and the Winter Storm Warning in Denver has been extended until 5 a.m. Saturday, by which point areas northwest of the city could see nearly three feet of snow.

According to ABC News Meteorologist Max Golembo, the storm could be the biggest on record for the month of February, when Denver usually averages just six inches of snow during the whole month.

Denver has had a snowy winter, despite below-average snowfall totals in the eastern U.S.

Snow from the storm is forecast for Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. It is not expected to bring significant snow to the eastern part of the country.

The largest snowfall on record for Denver is 45.7 inches, set in 1913.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arizona Student Survives Trapped in a Blizzard for 10 Days

Hemera/Thinkstock (file photo)(FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.) -- After 10 days trapped alone inside her Toyota Corolla in freezing temperatures deep within a secluded mountain range, an Arizona woman has been rescued from her ordeal and is now recovering at Flagstaff Medical Center.

Lauren Weinberg, an Arizona State University student, survived on two candy bars and melted snow for water after her car became stuck in snow outside a forest gate near a line of cliffs with no one around for miles.  The 23-year-old sat in the car without a heavy coat or blanket for nearly a week and a half as another snow storm dumped more than two feet of snow around her.

"She did not have a lot in the way of provisions, she did not have a lot in the way of warm clothing," police told ABC News. "She had a cellphone with her. She told us that she couldn't use it because the battery was dead, and then I guess at some point because of the cold it became completely disabled."

Weinberg had last been seen leaving her mother's house in Phoenix on the night of Dec. 11.  She drove four hours toward Arizona's Mogollon Rim when a gate blocked her from traveling any farther.  It was when she attempted to turn her car around that she became stuck.

Park rangers found her on Wednesday about 45 miles southeast of Winslow, according to Coconino County sheriff's spokesman Gerry Blair.

"They took her out on a snowmobile.  She was taken to a waiting deputy to a point where you could get a four-wheel drive vehicle and then she was transported from there," Blair said.

Weinberg, an undergraduate student who is studying supply chain management, released a statement on Thursday thanking her rescuers.

"I am so thankful to be alive and warm," she said.  "Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers, because they worked.  There were times I was afraid but mostly I had faith I would be found."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Snowstorm: Northeast Cleans Up After Deadly Nor'easter

Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Northeast residents are cleaning up Sunday after a rare, strong storm blanketed the region with snow and rain, left more than 2 million without power and killed at least three people.

The October Nor'easter dumped record amounts of snow from New Jersey through New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The governors of New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts all declared states of emergency.

Meteorologist Bruce Sullivan from the National Weather Service said the weather system will be moving up the coast Sunday.

"It is expected to accelerate northeast fairly rapidly today towards Nova Scotia and Canada," he said on Sunday.

Sullivan said the last part of the storm will be hitting the East Coast with heavy snowfall and wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour predicted.

"We still have to deal with a little bit of snow on the back side of this system this morning. Most of the effects will be felt in parts of eastern Maine," Sullivan said. "But the storm has actually created quite a bit of snow from Virginia, all the way up into the Northeast, with some snow totals as high as 2 feet across western Massachusetts."

An 84-year-old man in Pennsylvania died Saturday afternoon when a tree weighed down by snow fell on his home.

Pennsylvania State Police Corporal Douglas Benedetti said 84-year-old Charles Loder was napping on his recliner when the tree smashed through his house, killing him instantly.

"One of his daughters heard a tree fall in the back of the residence, that's where he resides, and she discovered him trapped in there," Benedetti said.

In Colchester, Conn., one person died in a traffic accident blamed on the snow, Gov. Dannel Malloy said.

A 20-year-old man in Springfield, Mass., was electrocuted by a downed power line he stepped on after getting out of his car.

Parts of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts had more than 2 feet of snow by Saturday evening, with total accumulation expected to pile up more than 30 inches.

Newark-Liberty Airport had 3.8 inches, surpassing the previous high total for an October day of 0.3 inches on Oct. 20, 1952.

While coastal areas were soaked with frigid mixes of rain and snow, inland areas saw snow pile up as though it were midwinter.

By early Saturday evening, West Milford, N.J., saw 15.5 inches; Bristol, Conn., had 11 inches; and Plainfield, Mass., had 14.3 inches.

Parts of West Virginia also reported as much as three or four inches of snow accumulation.

"Kind of unbelievable that we've already gotten snow this year," Berkley, W.Va., resident Tyler Easterday said.

A state of emergency was declared in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie said the heavy snow left approximately 600,000 homes and businesses without power.

"We expect the number is going to continue to go up before it goes back down," Christie said. "The problem is that there are trees just down everywhere because of the snow, the wet, heavy snow."

Approximately 125,000 customers were without power in Pennsylvania Saturday evening, according to First Energy spokesman Scott Surgeoner.

"We have about 6 to 8 inches where I live right now and it's the first time I can remember an October snow storm," he said. "Normally when you do get into winter, the leaves have left the trees or they're shed by the trees, that's not the case this time and that's what's causing most of our problems, if not all our problems."

There were more than 265,000 customers without power in New York State, more than 530,000 without power in Connecticut, more than 367,000 in the dark in Pennsylvania, more than 226,000 in Massachusetts and 61,000 in New Hampshire.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chicago Digging Out from Blizzard

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CHICAGO) -- A winter blizzard of historic proportions in Chicago is causing flights to be canceled, schools closed for the first time in over a decade, and drivers stranded.

Officials are slowly trying to get things back on track at the airports. Tuesday night they were virtual ghost towns. All the airlines had shut down their operations with the exception of a few international flights coming inbound. Now, about a third of flights are able to come in and out of Chicago's two major airports, O'Hare and Midway, but it may take several days before the runways are completely plowed and normal operations can resume.

On the ground, over a foot and a half of snow left drivers in the Windy City stranded.

The city's done a pretty remarkable job of clearing the main streets and highways. Its those side streets that may take a few days before the crews from the streets and sanitation department can arrive but the main thoroughfares remarkably good considering there has been 20 inches of snow in just a few hours.

What's really remarkable is the scene on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, an iconic stretch of highway along Lake Michigan. As many as 900 cars were trapped there due to a series of accidents just as the snow started falling, leaving those cars trapped. Many people were stuck inside them for seven to nine hours until they could be rescued by Chicago firefighters.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Emergency Responders Prepared for Worst as Storm Hits

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CHICAGO) -- As cities across the United States brace for the worst, emergency departments race to prepare for severe winter weather rolling across the country.

Chicago is among those cities that have begun preparations for the storm. Dr. Christian Theodosis at the University of Chicago Hospital said his institution has been making preparations including “discharging patients early from the hospital” and “canceling cases that are elective.”  Staff there are setting up beds in case they are unable to leave once the storm picks up.

Dr. Rahul Khare, an emergency medicine physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said he expects vulnerable populations such as the elderly and the homeless to increase significantly. “In the last two days we’ve had a huge surge in the emergency department ... where we usually see about 250 patients we hit over 300 and that especially for the day of the week we really were kind of surprised ... a lot of them were saying 'I have an appointment later this week but I am worried I won’t be able to get to my doctor,'" said Khare.
In Dallas, where the storm has already hit, Chair of Emergency Medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dr. Paul Pepe described the local conditions as the “worst case scenario,” and noted an overnight rain that froze to ice when the cold swept through at dawn. “Everything is completely frozen ... I’m looking at a car wreck right now," Pepe told ABC.

The National Guard has also dispatched large numbers in preparation for the storm. According to new figures, more than 1,200 citizen soldiers and airmen have been called out in five states including Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Texas. The states of Kansas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana have put the National Guard on alert but have not yet dispatched additional units.

FEMA has said they are prepared to aid emergency responders with emergency commodities including more than 5 million liters of water, 3 millions meals, 500,000 blankets, 110,000 cots and more than 500 power generators.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Feds Probe NYC Blizzard Cleanup

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Federal prosecutors are probing whether any sanitation workers committed a conspiracy to commit fraud by purposefully delaying road clearing and snow cleanup following the recent blizzard in New York City, ABC News has learned.

Local prosecutors in the city boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn are also looking into the alleged work slowdown to determine if any lives were lost or anyone was injured, as well as to determine whether state labor laws may have been violated.

A broader probe is underway in Queens, where City Councilman Dan Halloran has repeatedly claimed that sanitation workers, embarrassed by the alleged work stoppage, have come forward to provide information.

"Council member Halloran is pleased that law enforcement is taking this matter as seriously as he is and as all New Yorkers are," Steven Stites, a spokesman for Halloran, told ABC News.

In Queens, officials said, the D.A.'s office is conducting a preliminary probe to see if there is any evidence of criminality, including overtime slips that were improperly filled and documents that falsely stated roads had been cleaned.

"This office is reviewing information provided to it by City Councilman Dan Halloran, among others, with respect to last week's snowstorm and the City's response thereto," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. "At this point, however, we have not reached any conclusions as to whether a formal investigation is warranted."

The city council plans to conduct its own hearing into the city's response to the blizzard on Jan. 10.

New York's Channel 2 News broke the story on the federal probe Monday night.

While federal officials would neither confirm nor deny whether a probe was underway, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office also acknowledged that it was conducting a very narrow probe into a video that allegedly shows workers goofing off for hours.

The video, posted on YouTube, purports to show three sanitation workers spending 11 hours in a donut shop. In another video obtained by ABC News, a sanitation worker is seen sitting idly in a parked snow plow.

Sources in NYC government told ABC News they are angry at the possible role of workers in contributing to the weak response to the blizzard, but were also quick to acknowledge their own poor decisions played a major role in the underwhelming response to the blizzard.

"New York's strongest, the men and women of the Sanitation Department, do an amazing job day in and day out and we are grateful for their service. That said, by all accounts, the collective storm response was not anywhere near up to the standards New Yorkers are accustomed to," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stranded on New Year's Eve? You're Not Alone  

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of stranded travelers are going to have an unusual New Year's Eve thanks to winter storms in the Rockies, the Midwest and the fallout from last weekend's Northeast blizzard.

Blizzard warnings were in effect Friday for portions of Wyoming, Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of the Rockies and the Midwest were under some sort of winter storm watches and warnings Friday morning.

It's a similar story across the country as airlines rebooked stranded passengers on flights after the New Year. But those flying on New Year's Eve night shouldn't expect anything special. While Southwest encourages its flight attendants to have fun on New Year's Eve and wear hats and have noise makers, other airlines told ABC News they were simply focusing on getting everybody home. At least those on Virgin America's red eye and evening flights will get free drinks, according to spokeswoman Abby Lunardini.

Airports aren't doing much for travelers either. In fact, most will have limited retail options.

For instance, the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport will only have a McDonald's and Subway open when the clock strikes midnight. It will be a similar story in Denver where most of the airports concourses will be closed.

At least one hotel is throwing in something special for stranded travelers. New York's Buckingham Hotel is offereing people with flight delays of four hours or more the cost of their airport taxi ride (up to $50) taken off the current available room rate.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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