Winter storm covers half of US

A fearsome storm has spread a smothering shroud of white over nearly half the US, snarling transportation, burying parts of the Midwest under 2ft of snow and causing at least 12 deaths.









Tens of millions of people stayed at home. The hardy few who ventured out faced howling winds that turned snowflakes into face-stinging needles. Chicago's 20in of snow was the city's third-largest amount on record.



The storm that resulted from two clashing air masses was rare for its size and ferocious strength.



"A storm that produces a swath of 20in snow is really something we'd see once every 50 years - maybe," National Weather Service meteorologist Thomas Spriggs said.



Across the storm's path, lonely commuters struggled against drifts up to 4ft deep in eerily silent streets. Parkas and ski goggles normally reserved for the slopes became essential for getting to work.



Although skies were beginning to clear by mid-afternoon over much of the country's mid-section, the storm promised to leave a blast of bitter cold in its wake. Overnight temperatures in northern parts of the Midwest were expected to fall as low as minus 30C, with wind chills dropping to minus 35C.



The 12 fatalities included a homeless man who burned to death on New York's Long Island as he tried to light cans of cooking fuel, and a woman in Oklahoma City who was killed while being pulled behind a truck on a sledge that hit a railing.



Airport operations slowed to a crawl across the US, and flight cancellations reached 13,000 for the week, making this system the most disruptive so far this winter. A massive post-Christmas blizzard led to about 10,000 cancellations.



In the winter-weary north east, thick ice caused several structures to collapse, including a filling station canopy on Long Island and an airplane hangar near Boston. In at least two places, workers heard the structures beginning to crack and narrowly escaped.



More than half a dozen states began digging out from up to a foot of snow that made roads treacherous and left hundreds of thousands of homes without power.



Chicago schools cancelled classes for a second straight day, and the city's iconic Lake Shore Drive remained shut down, nearly a day after drivers abandoned hundreds of snowbound vehicles.



Elsewhere, utility crews raced to restore power to many thousands of homes and businesses in Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where freezing rain and ice brought down electrical lines. Rolling blackouts were implemented across Texas, due to high demand during a rare ice storm.



In Canada, heavy snow cancelled about a quarter of the 1,200 scheduled flights at Toronto's international airport, closed schools, and caused dangerous driving conditions due to drifting snow.



The storm derived its power from the collision of cold air sweeping down from Canada and warm, moist air coming up from the south.



The contrasts were most dramatic in Texas earlier in the week, when one part of the state reported temperatures below freezing and another part had temperatures around 20C with near-tropical humidity.



Louis Uccellini, director of the government's National Centres for Environmental Prediction, said the storm also drew strength from the La Nina condition currently affecting the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
News
i100
Sport
footballLatest scores and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad