Snowstorm blankets Midwest, New England


Pedestrians navigate slush and snow as they make their way through downtown Chicago Friday, Dec. 19, 2008. A major winter storm cut a broad swath across the Midwest on Friday, snarling traffic and cutting power to thousands of households. Schools across the Northeast closed in anticipation as the storm lumbered eastward.

M. Spencer Green/The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 5:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 5:28 p.m.

COLUMBUS, Ohio A weekend winter storm blanketed parts of the Midwest and Northeast with up to a foot of snow, causing a 59-vehicle pileup and at least four traffic fatalities.

In New Hampshire, three buses and two tractor-trailer rigs were among 59 vehicles that crashed on snowy Interstate 93, sending a dozen people to hospitals Sunday morning and temporarily shutting down a stretch of the highway's northbound lanes.

None of the injuries were life threatening, but it took emergency crews about an hour to remove one man from a car wedged under the back of a tractor trailer, Derry Fire Battalion Chief Jack Webb said.

A Maryland teen was killed Sunday when he lost control of his SUV on an icy road and ran into a telephone pole near Union Mills. Authorities in Michigan said a 49-year-old man died when his snowmobile collided with a snow plow Saturday in Dorr Township. Motorists also died Saturday in Illinois and Indiana.

The snow was a boon to Ohio ski resorts, which called it a stimulus package for their industry.

"We've been in business for 47 years and this is what I can't believe yesterday was by far the best gross sales day we've ever had," said George Shaffer, area manager of the Alpine Valley ski resort east of Cleveland in Geauga County, where 11 inches of snow fell.

Residents in Massachusetts and Rhode Island heeded the authorities' warnings to stay off roads after the storm dumped up to 9 inches of snow in some areas and sleet and freezing rain across Rhode Island. Some communities declared snow emergencies to help cleanup crews plow streets.

A transportation department worker in Delaware suffered a broken leg Sunday when an SUV plowed through a section of highway near Wilmington that had been closed because of icy conditions.

The National Weather Service reported 8 inches of snow at Blissfield and Morenci in Michigan, and more than 6 inches of snow fell on Detroit. The service also forecast a second winter storm for the southern Great Lakes and Indiana later this week.

The Pacific Northwest remained on alert Sunday with three flooded rivers in Washington, where state officials were assessing the damage from heavy rain and melting snow on roads and property.

National Guard troops were deployed in Lewis County, which was one of the state's hardest hit counties by flooding, said Rob Harper, a spokesman for the state division of Emergency Management.

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