Deadly storm barrels toward New England
The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS, Missouri — Utility crews worked on Monday to restore electricity to about 330,000 Missouri households and businesses that were still without power in chilly weather following a storm blamed for 30 deaths across six states.
Crews hoped to take advantage of moderate weather expected Monday — with only a few lingering snow showers and flurries — to bring power back on before an expected drop in temperatures to the single digits Monday night.
The remains of the storm system streamed toward New England on Monday, shutting down numerous businesses, day care centers and schools in Maine with a mixture of sleet and snow that made roads treacherous.
Lower Michigan and parts of New England could see more than a foot of snow Monday, as rain fell from the lower Mississippi Valley up through the Ohio Valley. On the back side of the storm, snow in Iowa closed some schools Monday.
Waves of freezing rain, sleet and snow since Friday had been blamed for at least 15 deaths in Oklahoma, six in Missouri, five in Iowa, two in Texas and one each in New York and Maine.
Seven of the Oklahoma deaths occurred in one accident, in which a minivan carrying 12 people slid off an icy highway Sunday and struck an oncoming truck, the Highway Patrol said. All of the van's occupants were adult residents of Mexico, who were traveling from Arizona to North Carolina, Highway Patrol Capt. Chris West said.
The ice accumulation also blacked out at least 1,000 utility customers in New Hampshire, but for the northern part of the state, ski areas were celebrating their first significant snowfall of the season.
Most of the Missouri power outages — the majority in the state's southwest corner — were caused by the weight of freezing rain snapping tree branches and dropping them onto power lines, officials said.
National Guardsmen went door-to-door checking on the health and safety of residents in the hardest hit parts of the state and helping to clear slick roads. The temperature in the St. Louis area hovered just above the freezing mark Monday morning, but the wind chill was 24 degrees, the weather service said.
Amtrak canceled Sunday service between Kansas City and St. Louis due to fallen trees and other debris on railroad tracks.
Airlines in Texas canceled 415 flights because of the weather Sunday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. On Monday, 100 more departures at the airport were canceled.
In the St. Louis region, about 150,000 people remained without power Sunday afternoon.
About 122,000 customers lacked power in Oklahoma as of Sunday night, the state Department of Emergency Management said. Authorities said it could be up to a week before power is fully restored.
A gymnasium roof collapsed in Del City, Oklahoma, under the weight of ice and snow, but no one was inside, authorities said.
Late Sunday, President Bush declared a federal disaster for Oklahoma because of the storm.
Elsewhere, a weekend cold snap that had worried citrus growers and other farmers in California produced rare freezing temperatures Monday in southern Arizona. The 8 a.m. reading in Phoenix was 29, the weather service said.
During the weekend, the cold had frozen water pipes in the Phoenix area and flooded shelters with homeless people.
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