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Deadly storm brings ice and snow

Many crashes choke traffic along Interstates 75 & 80

DETROIT | January 3, 2012

DETROIT, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- A storm forecasters said would pile up more than 2 feet of snow in some spots was blamed for two major car pileups in Kentucky and Pennsylvania Monday.

Accuweather.com reported snow could accumulate at a rate of several inches per hour in some areas, and wind gusts and snow showers could lead to whiteout conditions.

The storm triggered massive crashes that choked off traffic on Interstate 75 in Kentucky and Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania.

Kentucky State Police said the pileup on southbound I-75 in Grant County, south of Cincinnati, involved about 30 vehicles, WLEX-TV, Lexington, reported. Police said injuries were reported but were unable to say how many or how serious they were.

The first crash in the pileup was reported about 10:40 a.m. EST and the interstate was expected to be closed for as long as 7 hours, WLEX said. Authorities said at least six big rigs and 15 other vehicles were involved in the pileup on I-80 in Jefferson County, Pa., just before 3 p.m. EDT. The eastbound lanes of I-80 were expected to remain closed while crews cleaned up the roadway and police investigated the cause of the pileup, WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh, said.

Visibility in nearby Williamsport, Pa., was a quarter mile at the time of the crash, Accuweather.com reported.

The heavy lake-effect snow -- which comes when cold northwest winds blow over the warmer waters of the Great Lakes -- produced significant accumulations from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast.

The storm had dumped 7.8 inches in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and 5 inches Winchester, Wis. South of Buffalo, N.Y., Springboro, Pa., had received 9.8 inches, while Jamestown in western New York state got 8.6 inches and Sherman, 8.3 inches.

Heavy snow was expected downwind of Lake Superior and over Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Accuweather.com said.

Heavy accumulations were expected into Tuesday in areas downwind of Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

The Weather Channel said 1 to 2 feet of snow could fall on areas northeast of Cleveland to south of Buffalo and east of Lake Ontario.

With wind gusts from 30-50 mph, visibility could be reduced considerably downwind of the Great Lakes, and major drifting was expected.

Icy roads led to accidents as snow showers hit Chicago and Dayton, Ohio,

In Texas Township, Mich., a 36-year-old woman was killed when the driver of a pickup truck in which she was a passenger lost control on an icy roadway and the truck rolled over Sunday evening, the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette reported.

The victim's name had not been released. The driver, 37, and a juvenile passenger were taken to a hospital as a precaution, authorities said.

The lack of lake-effect snows thus far this winter has led to total accumulations much lower than average, The Weather Channel said. Erie, Pa., had received 25.8 inches less than it normally would have by Dec. 31, Marquette, Mich., 27.9 inches less, and Syracuse, N.Y., 35.4 inches less.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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