Ice Knocks Out Power Along East Coast - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

01/27/04

Ice Knocks Out Power Along East Coast

A storm carrying the threat of heavy snow for the Northeast coated a wide swath of the East Coast in ice Tuesday, stopping trains, closing schools and courts, and knocking out electricity to a quarter-million people.

At least 46 deaths have been blamed on snow, ice and cold from Kansas to the Carolinas since the weekend.

While one low-pressure system pushed a wave of icy weather that stretched from Georgia into Maryland, another propelled snow across the Midwest and Great Lakes. Up to 21 inches of snow was possible in northern Michigan.

The two systems were converging over the Northeast, threatening Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York state, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Up to 14 inches of snow was possible in parts of New Jersey, with a chance of 15 inches in New York's Catskill Mountains.

"I don't like it at all," said Gisselle Garcia of Newark, N.J., as she waited for a train because roads were too slippery for her to drive. "It's too cold. My toes get frozen. It's not safe for kids to be outside. And old people slip and fall on the ice. Enough!"

Freezing rain and drizzle fell from northern Georgia into Maryland during the morning, creating a layer of ice up to three-quarters of an inch thick in South Carolina.

Because of ice on switches and electrical connections, Amtrak stopped four East Coast trains, including the New York-to-Miami Silver Meteor and the Auto Trains.

Towing services were kept busy pulling vehicles out of ditches.

"People don't slow down for nothing," Peter Ashenden of Lizard Lick Towing & Recovery said as he worked to right a sport utility vehicle that overturned near Wendell, N.C.

An estimated 220,000 customers lost power Tuesday morning in South Carolina, nearly 40,000 in North Carolina and 58,000 in Georgia, utilities reported.

Rescue workers in Virginia's Henrico County, outside Richmond, were deluged with calls from people who slipped and fell on sidewalks and front steps.

Tuesday's session of Delaware's legislature was canceled. Most schools, courts and businesses in Virginia were closed for a second straight day. Most schools in Maryland remained closed and local and state governments opened late or allowed many employees to stay home. Many New Jersey school districts also canceled classes Tuesday or planned early dismissals in anticipation of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow.

In the Midwest, snow and sleet fell across Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. Dozens of Illinois school districts called off classes because of slippery roads.

The weather was blamed for six deaths each in North Carolina and South Carolina; five each in Iowa and Missouri; four in Ohio; three each in Nebraska, Virginia and Minnesota; two each in Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma; and one each in Kansas, New Jersey and West Virginia. Most of the deaths were in traffic accidents.

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On the Net:

National Weather Service: http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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