Kansas, Massachusetts snowy, Oklahoma ice falling hazards
By M&C US News Dec 15, 2007, 19:04 GMT
when these start dropping- look out EPA/LARRY W. SMITH
The good news is its Saturday, and most peope are home. The bad news is more severe weather is afoot and due to hit soon, especially in New England and Massachusetts, which got a brief sunny respite today for residents to enjoy the record snowfall.
In Oklahoma residents were mostly spared a threatened second wintry blast on Saturday, but the ice is beginning to fall from tall structures, homes and trees, and it is a very dangerous situation. The falling ice can kill, maim and damage personal property, People there have been living without heat or power too.
Neighboring Kansas got a foot of snow Saturday morning.
Hundreds of thousands of people were still in the cold and dark in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.
The National Weather Service canceled heavy snow warnings for Oklahoma early Saturday. Central Oklahoma got only cold, light rain during the night, turning to snow during the morning. One to 3 inches of snow was forecast.
The Kansas Highway Patrol reported Interstate 70 in central Kansas was snowpacked.
More than 2,300 people were in Kansas shelters Saturday because of the outages and the fresh snow, said Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the state Adjutant General's Department.
"We just opened the National Guard Armory in Russell because of the amount of people needing shelter," Watson said. "I think they're mostly travelers because of the highway conditions there."
The storm was expected to cross the Midwest and reach the Northeast early Sunday with a threat of ice and heavy snow.
Winter storm warnings and watches extended from Missouri across parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, the National Weather Service said. Up to 15 inches of snow was forecast in sections of southern Michigan, with 10 inches possible in Detroit.
In Chicago, about 10 flights were canceled Saturday morning at O'Hare International Airport and flights were delayed by 15 to 30 minutes, said Department of Aviation spokesman Gregg Cunningham
Last weekend's storm coated much of the Plains with ice before dumping heavy snow on New England. It killed at least 38 people, mostly in traffic accidents, including 23 in Oklahoma alone.
At its height, a million customers in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri were blacked out.
By Saturday morning, Oklahoma utilities said about 181,000 homes and businesses still had no electricity. Some 62,000 were still blacked out in Kansas, and Missouri utilities reported about 27,000 customers still off line.
The first storm changed from ice to snow as it blew into the Northeast, as some commuters in Boston spent eight hours driving home Thursday evening, and public school buses were still dropping off students at 11 p.m.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick defended the state's storm response Friday after meeting with public safety, transportation and emergency officials.
"People were asked to leave early, and they didn't," Patrick said. "What would have helped, I think in this case, would have been a more uniform early release."
As the snow fell, traffic on Rhode Island highways backed up past the Massachusetts state line, and about 300 vehicles got stuck or collided with others. Dozens of school buses got stuck on Providence streets.