Three people were killed in a 40-car pileup Thursday in Michigan that officials blamed on snowy conditions, as a blast of frigid air and snow hit the Great Lakes and separate winter storm struck the West.
Those killed in the crash at around 9:47 a.m. on westbound Interstate 96 in Livingston County were not immediately identified. Eleven people were injured and taken to hospitals, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office said.
There were whiteout conditions reported in the area when the crash occurred, and the sheriff's office said weather appeared to be a factor. Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories were in place along the western edge of the state Thursday evening, the National Weather Service said.
In the Lansing area, west of the scene of the pileup, 40 accidents were reported amid the snow, the weather service said.
In Erie, Pennsylvania, a multi-vehicle wreck amid snowy conditions on Interstate 90 westbound sent several people to the hospital and shut down the highway, officials said. The accidents occurred as an arctic air mass caused lake-effect snow in the Great Lakes region.
Four inches of snow fell in one hour in Perrysburg in western New York, adding to the foot of snow already on the ground, the Weather Channel reported.
Out west, another front of cold air moved over the coast and brought snow and freezing temperatures. Oregon was hit by snow and freezing rain, and there were winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories for the northwest part of the state and in Washington, Idaho and parts of Wyoming and Utah.
The frigid weather in the northwest was eyed in at least one death. The Benton County, Oregon, sheriff's office said ice covering a highway may have contributed to a two-car crash that killed a 40-year-old woman Thursday morning.
Walla Walla, Washington, recorded temperatures of 16 degrees Thursday morning, and Boulder, Colorado, was just 3 degrees. A low of -33 was recorded at the airport in Casper, Wyoming — the coldest in more than 25 years, the National Weather Service said.
"There are a lot of people that are going to get snowed on from this storm, extending all the way out into the Northeast," Weather Channel meteorologist Ari Sarsalari said.
Portland saw snow and ice of 1.5 inches in some parts, and the winter conditions prompted Alaska Airlines and affiliated carrier Horizon to cancel 60 flights into or out of the city's airport, and the airline canceled another 37 into and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The cold weather and snow is expected to push into the upper Midwest by Saturday and into the Northeast by Sunday, forecasters said.
A mass of cold air from Siberia is expected to send temperatures to 20 degrees below average in the middle of the country next week. The forecast in Chicago on Wednesday is around 6 degrees.