Snowstorm claims 11 lives in central US
A winter storm kills at least 11 people in the central US, leaving thousands of homes and businesses without electricity.world Updated: Dec 24, 2007 14:37 IST
A winter storm has killed at least 11 people in the central US, with heavy snow and howling wind making highways hazardous for holiday travellers and leaving thousands of homes and businesses without electricity.
Winter storm warnings were posted for parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan on Sunday as the core of the storm headed north across the Great Lakes. Parts of Wisconsin already had a 30 centimetres of snow, and up to a foot was forecast yesterday in northeastern Minnesota, the National Weather Service said.
"Everything is just an ice rink out there," said Sgt Steve Selby with the sheriff's department in Rock County, Wisconsin.
The weather system also spread locally heavy rain yesterday from the Southeast to the lower Great Lakes.
Wind gusting to more than 50 mph uprooted trees in parts of Michigan. "I can see the snow moving basically sideways," meteorologist Wayne Hoepner said in Grand Rapids.
Winds were recorded blowing as fast as 88 mph over Lake Michigan with gusts of 50 to 68 mph across the Chicago region, according to the National Weather Service.
Because of the wind, airlines cancelled more than 250 flights on Sunday at Chicago's O' Hare International Airport, the city Aviation Department said. Municipal officials said the wind had knocked out nearly 170 traffic signals, and there were more than 500 reports of fallen trees and limbs.
More than 11,000 homes and businesses were without power at some point Saturday in Wisconsin because of the freezing rain, ice, gusty wind and heavy snow, utilities said. Michigan utilities reported some 74,500 customers were still without power on Sunday night, and in Illinois about 24,000 customers were blacked out.