Ice, snow make for car crashes, flight delays

Image: Winter Weather
This accident was among the hundreds on Thursday across parts of the South and East due to icy roads.David Crigger / Bristol Herald Courier via AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Ice-slicked roads created treacherous conditions blamed for at least three fatal accidents in the South on Thursday as wintry weather headed up the East Coast.

Snow fell in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia as well as parts of New York state and West Virginia.

In Virginia, thousands were without power Thursday and state police responded to several hundred car accidents.

Maryland state police said they responded to around 100 accidents.

In Washington, where about two inches of snow fell Thursday, crews at Reagan and Dulles airports worked to clear the snow, but some travelers were stuck inside planes on the tarmac.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokeswoman Courtney Mickalonis reported many delays and cancellations, although flights were taking off and landing all afternoon.

A passenger on one flight from Boston to Reagan said the craft had been on the tarmac for two hours since it landed.

In North Carolina, three people died in separate weather-related crashes Thursday.

In metro Atlanta and north Georgia, icy conditions prompted road closures a day after slick surfaces caused hundreds of car crashes. Ice also covered roads early Thursday in Louisville, Ky., and parts of Tennessee.

Those who ventured out had to allow time to clear ice that coated nearly everything, from cars to walkways to the sides of buildings.

"I'm just chipping away," said Tim Olson of Louisville, who was getting the ice off his truck Thursday morning. "It looks slick. I hope it isn't too bad."

In Missouri, the freezing rain began Wednesday night and continued into Thursday morning, with the Missouri State Highway Patrol reporting numerous accidents. At one point Wednesday night, sections of three St. Louis-area highways — 70, 44 and 55 — were closed because there were so many crashes.

Schools in Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, North Carolina and South Carolina either closed for the day or planned to open late.

In Ohio, plows were out in counties near the Ohio River. A spokeswoman for Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport said airlines were experiencing weather delays and cancellations. Cincinnati schools were closed because of warnings about slick roads.

"Although it's unusual to have to call off school because of wintry conditions this early in the school year, student safety always comes first," said superintendent Mary Ronan.

Western New York was getting a respite from heavy lake-effect snow storms but forecasters said central parts of the state would get pounded for another day. Weather-related accidents shut down Interstate 81 northbound in the Syracuse area for more than two hours, state police said.

In Florida, farmers around the state were still assessing how cold weather earlier this week affected crops.

Tropical fish and strawberry farmers in central Florida reported some losses Wednesday, but the full extent of the cold damage won't be known for a few weeks. Citrus growers were more optimistic, saying they avoided a citrus freeze. Some corn and bean growers in South Florida reported losses.