Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

15 killed by snowstorms in the US

US authorities have rescued more than 100 motorists in Indiana who were trapped in their cars in biting temperatures as snowstorms over the weekend were blamed for at least 15 deaths.

LaPorte County sheriff's Deputy Andy Hynek said officials did not know exactly how many people were stranded, but some had been stuck for as long as 12 hours.

The heavy snow in the Midwest state was part of a slow-moving storm that has been crawling across the central US since Friday night. The storm dumped nearly 2 feet of snow before it stretched further east, with snow in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

The upper Midwest has been gripped by bone-chilling cold as Arctic air swept in behind the storm.

At least 15 deaths in four states have been attributed to the storm. Eight people died in traffic accidents, and a 79-year-old man clearing the end of his driveway in western Wisconsin was killed when a plough truck backed into him. Four men in Michigan and one in Minnesota died after shovelling or blowing snow, and Kenneth Swanson, 58, of rural Wisconsin, died when a metal shed collapsed from the heavy snow, pinning him under debris and about 3ft of snow

The minus 11C temperature didn't stop hundreds of football fans from lining up hours before free tickets to Monday night's game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants became available at 9am local time at Ford Field. The game was moved to Detroit after the Minneapolis Metrodome's inflated roof collapsed on Sunday under the weight of heavy snow.

Indiana was hardest hit, with up to 16in of "lake effect" snow in some areas. Lake effect snow develops when cold air rushes over the warmer water in the Great Lakes.

More than 100 vehicles were trapped by snow drifts on a section of highway in the Valparaiso area. Police said they were found warm and safe in their vehicles.

Crews were using front-end loaders to remove drifts on US 30, where other drivers were trapped overnight, state highway department spokesman Jim Pinkerton said. Sections of two highways were closed, and with winds of up to 30mph, LaPorte and Porter counties issued emergency orders telling drivers to stay off county roads as well.

"As soon as the ploughs go through an area, the wind is blowing fresh snow right back into the roads," Mr Pinkerton said. "It is just really difficult for us to keep up against that wind and snow."


From Belfast Telegraph