storm that hit the South and Midwest brings misery to the Northeast | Chicago News

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The sun rises over Tulsa, Okla., Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)

A major winter storm wreaked havoc in the Deep South where a tornado claimed lives and tree branches snapped under the weight of thick ice until the trip to the country’s northeast where snow and ice wreaked havoc on travelers on Friday. Hundreds of thousands of people were without electricity.

In Oklahoma, police were investigating the hit-and-run death of a 12-year-old boy who was sledding when he was hit by a vehicle.

More than a foot of snow fell in parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New England on Friday, but it was freezing rain and ice, along with plummeting temperatures, that threatened to cause the biggest travel and electrical service issues before the storm hit. wed late friday and saturday.

“Snow is much easier to clear than ice,” said Rick Otto, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.

About 350,000 homes and businesses lost power in an area stretching from Texas to Ohio on Thursday as freezing rain and snow tore down branches and encased power lines. As of Friday morning, power outages were concentrated in Tennessee, Ohio, New York, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks utility reports.

In Memphis, crews worked on Friday removing trees and downing power lines from city streets, while those who lost power spent a cold night at home or took refuge in hotels or homes. friends and family. Utility officials said it could take days to restore power to the city.

There were 225 downed trees on city streets and crews were working 16 hours a day to clear them, Robert Knecht, director of public works for Memphis, said Thursday night.

“It’s going to take several days, given the unfavorable weather conditions, to clear the public right-of-way,” he said.

Many schools and businesses remained closed Friday in areas affected by the freezing weather as roads remained icy and temperatures did not rise above freezing.

Flights were halted Friday at major hubs in the United States, including airports in New York, Boston and Dallas.

The storm represented a “highly energized system” with low pressure waves rolling like a train from Texas, where there was snowfall and sub-freezing temperatures, to Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, said Maine National Weather Service meteorologist Hunter Tubbs.

In western Alabama, a tornado killed one person Thursday, seriously injured three others and severely damaged a home, Hale County Emergency Management Director Russell Weeden told WBRC- TV.

Winter tornadoes are unusual, but the atmospheric conditions needed to cause them have intensified as the planet warms, scientists say.

The FlightAware.com flight-tracking service showed that more than 9,000 U.S. flights scheduled for Thursday or Friday had been canceled, in addition to more than 2,000 cancellations on Wednesday at the start of the storm.

For a second straight night, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport officials stepped up to accommodate travelers stranded at the American Airlines hub overnight by cancellations.

The Ohio Valley was particularly hard hit Thursday, with 211 flight cancellations at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport on Thursday. Almost all Thursday afternoon and evening flights were canceled at Muhammad Ali International Airport in Louisville. UPS suspended some operations Thursday at its Worldport hub at the airport, a rare move.

Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed Friday at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Boston’s Logan Airport and Newark Liberty Airport.

In the Pittsburgh area, commuter rail service was halted Friday when a power line fell, trapping cars at an Allegheny County Port Authority rail yard.

“With temperatures not expected to rise much throughout the day, quick repairs and restoration of the rail system will be difficult, but our crews are doing all they can,” the Port Authority tweeted.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul warned residents to stay home if possible to avoid ice-covered roads and the threat of falling tree limbs in the Hudson Valley and capital areas. “We are not out of the danger zone yet,” she said.

In New York’s Hudson Valley, the Catskill Wildlife Sanctuary was relying on generators for power Friday after the overnight ice storm.

“We had trees all over the property and trees in our driveway,” said Kathy Stevens, founder of the rescued farm animal shelter. But the approximately 250 animals at the Saugerties Sanctuary were doing well, she said.

In Texas, the return of below-freezing weather has sparked heightened anxiety nearly a year after the catastrophic February 2021 freeze that shut down the state’s power grid for days, killing hundreds in the one of the worst blackouts in US history. But Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday’s power outages were due to high winds or downed power lines, not grid outages. About 18,000 homes and businesses in Texas were left without power Friday morning.

The storm came on the heels of a northeasterly last weekend that brought blizzard conditions to many parts of the East Coast.


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