Already winter-weary parts of the US midwest and east coast have been dealing with a mounting number of weather-related headaches, from highway pileups to frozen pipes and a rash of car thefts — and there is more to come.
Bitter temperatures and snow squalls have been blamed for a handful of deaths and canceled a long list of New Year’s celebrations.
Icy roads in central Michigan on Friday caused more than 30 crashes on highways near Flint, while a chain reaction crash involving about 40 vehicles in the southwestern part of the state left three hurt.
Photo: Standard Times via AP
Coastal South Carolina on Friday saw a rare bout of freezing rain and drizzle that forced bridges from Charleston to Myrtle Beach to shut down for deicing.
Police in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area said a half-dozen cars have been stolen over the past few days after being left running unattended by owners trying to warm them up.
Cincinnati police warned on Twitter that leaving your car running means “the only person who will be warm is the thief who stole your car.”
More snow is on the way in Erie, Pennsylvania, where 1.65m has fallen since Christmas Eve. Now parts of the surrounding county could get up to 40cm of more snow by today.
A call center set up to help people dig out has been overwhelmed.
“The phones have been ringing off the hook,” center coordinator Josh Jaeger told the Erie Times-News.
Cleanup continued inside Michigan State University’s basketball arena after a frozen water pipe burst and flooded a hallway, but the mess was not expected to interrupt a game on Friday.
Toledo resident Diann Wears said she was already fed up with winter as she stood along a slush-covered sidewalk while waiting for a bus.
“And it’s just the beginning,” she said on Friday. “I’m sure it will get worse.”
Frigid conditions in Boston took their toll on the nation’s fifth-largest transit system.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has spent heavily to winterize what is known as the “T” since it was crippled by record-breaking snowfall in 2015.
However, the agency reported “severe delays” on one of its lines on Friday, which it attributed to a broken piece of track and a disabled train, among other problems.
The US National Weather Service predicted another blast of arctic air will chill much of the eastern two-thirds of the US through the weekend and into next year.
With the bitter cold expected to stick around, many New Year’s Eve plans are being scuttled.
Shore towns in New Jersey canceled plans for polar bear plunges in the Atlantic Ocean and organizers pulled the plug on the annual light bulb drop in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.
In Boston, organizers of the L Street Brownies plunge scoffed when asked if they were scared off by the weather.
“It’s a go. It’s always a go. We never give up,” Dan Monahan told the Boston Herald about the event, which attracts more than 600 swimmers each year and has gone on for more than a century. “We’re stubborn people in Boston. We’re about tradition.”