y JASON KEYSER
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- A
storm that swept through the Midwest and the Northeast just a week
before the start of spring dumped more than 2 feet of snow on parts of
northern New England and caused pileups on the Ohio Turnpike involving
at least 50 vehicles, leaving three people dead and a state trooper
Snowy conditions along the busy toll road Wednesday had emergency
workers struggling to reach accidents stretched across a 2-mile section
in the eastbound lanes between Toledo and Cleveland. Another series of
pileups about 10 miles to the east shut down the turnpike's westbound
lanes near Sandusky.
Mike Ramella, a salesman from the Cleveland suburb of Westlake, was among the drivers mired in a 7-mile backup.
"I'm surrounded," by snow and cars, he told his wife on the phone. He
said he was trying to get home to her and their three children,
including a newborn, after a business trip to Michigan but was unable to
make it to the next exit.
A trooper responding to an accident was pinned between vehicles, said
the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which confirmed the deaths of the three
other people but didn't immediately have further details.
Highway Patrolman Andrew Clouser, 29, was in serious but stable
condition at a Toledo hospital Wednesday night, said Ohio patrol Staff
Lt. Anne Ralston.
People from Chicago to Buffalo, N.Y., to Burlington, Vt., were left
wondering whether the start of spring was really next week as the snow
fell and temperatures began tumbling.
Northern New England and upstate New York were digging out from some
of the heaviest snowfalls Thursday, with 26 inches reported in the small
town of Sharon in central Vermont and 17 inches in Warrensburg, N.Y.
Tens of thousands of homes and businesses in northern Illinois and
Indiana lost power, and a few hundred flights were canceled at Chicago's
airports. The city, where streets and sidewalks had only just dried out
for the first time in months, got about 6 inches of snow.
Stephen Rodriguez, National Weather Service meteorologist in
Romeoville, Ill., said winds causing heavy, wet snow to blow and drift
likely would create a frustrating morning commute on Thursday.
As much as 9.3 inches of snow fell on southern Michigan on Wednesday,
causing spin-outs and slide-off crashes. The temperature at Detroit
Metropolitan Airport dropped to 4 degrees Thursday morning, breaking the
March 13 record low of 5 for Detroit set in 1896.
In downtown South Bend, Ind., where already more than 100 inches of
snow has fallen this winter -- nearly 3 feet above normal -- there was
another 4 inches on the ground.
"I'm tired of the snow. Yesterday we had a real nice day and today
it's back to winter and cold and terrible," said Debi Ciesielski, who
was shoveling snow outside a parking garage as part of her work as a
Downtown South Bend Ambassador.
But a few blocks away, Ken Peczkowski, who has owned Griffon Games
and Bookstore for 40 years, was happy to be out shoveling the snow
"The more the merrier. I'd do it every day for as long as it takes," he said. "It makes me feel alive."
Associated Press writers Tom Coyne in South Bend, Ind., Ashley M.
Heher in Chicago, Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, N.Y., and Rick Callahan
in Indianapolis contributed to this report.