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Powerful winter storm leaves one dead, dozens stranded in Midwest

These are “the worst conditions I’ve ever seen,” a law enforcement official said.

A powerful winter storm barreling from the Midwest to the East Coast left one person dead and dozens stranded and injured, authorities said Sunday.

In Wisconsin, where forecasters expected blizzard conditions and wind gusts measuring nearly 50 mph to continue into Sunday night, a "chain reaction crash" led to a pileup of more than 100 cars earlier in the day, Winnebago County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Todd Christopherson told reporters.

The crash, which occurred on an interstate near Lake Winnebago, killed one person and left multiple people injured, Christopherson said.

Tom Sundry shovels the sidewalk in front of his house in Rochester, Minnesota, on Feb. 24, 2019, after heavy snow overnight.Joe Ahlquist / The Rochester Post-Bulletin via AP

It wasn’t clear how many people were hurt, he said, but a spokesperson with ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah — one of the six hospitals where the injured were taken — confirmed that 20 people had either already arrived there or were on their way.

Fifteen of the injured were in good condition, the spokesperson said. Five were listed as fair.

Christopherson said authorities would need weeks to sift through the crash scene to determine what led to the crash.

These are “the worst conditions I’ve ever seen,” Christopherson said.

In Minnesota, which was also hit by driving snow and howling winds, National Guard troops and sheriffs deputies rescued 50 stranded drivers in Freeborn County on Saturday night, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said.

“We are having a bad weather day in Minnesota,” the department’s director, Joe Kelly, said Sunday. “The best advice I can give you to keep you and your family safe is to shelter in place.”

As the storm moved east, forecasters measured howling winds from Virginia to New York. Gusts of 74 mph were recorded in Mount Mansfield, Vermont, and Niagara Falls, N.Y., the National Weather Service said.

The agency said the wind had caused “numerous” power outages in Ohio, western Pennsylvania and western New York.

Flightaware, the flight tracking site, said inbound flights to Chicago were averaging a one-hour delay.

Colin Sheeley contributed.