Late-winter storm continues to batter South, Northeast

Created: 03/06/2015 6:21 AM

Clocks are springing forward this weekend, but Friday will still feel like winter for much of the country.

Temperatures of 10 to 30 degrees below average were expected from the South to Northeast, along with heavy snow in the Mid-Atlantic, according to the National Weather Service.

The late-winter storm means school is canceled yet again for students in several states, and many households found themselves without power. State offices and legislatures shut down, too. In the Washington area, federal offices were open but on a two-hour delay.

Residents hoped the storm would be this tough winter's last wallop, with spring bringing relief soon.

Here's a look at what's happening:



Thousands of stranded motorists endured long waits Thursday lasting nearly 24 hours for some as parts of Kentucky saw up to 2 feet of snow and frustrated travelers dealt with gas tanks and stomachs close to empty.

The massive traffic jam stretched for about 26 miles. National Guard soldiers and emergency workers made safety checks on the frustrated travelers.

"You see miles and miles of tail ends and tail ends. It's not a very good sight," National Guard Spc. Jeriel Clark said as his group of soldiers handed out food and water while patrolling snowbound Interstate 24 in far western Kentucky.

Larry Weas spent a cold night hunkered down in his car. To conserve fuel during his 11-hour ordeal, he kept his car turned off for long stretches of time and scooped snow into a bucket to have something to drink.

"This has been a lesson of survival," said the 54-year-old, who is diabetic.

By Thursday evening, state highway officials said interstate routes in Kentucky were open again. Snow plows kept up their fast pace as dropping temperatures created the risk of icy highways.

On Friday, rising temperatures could lead to flooding, officials said. Gov. Steve Beshear said flash flooding could be a concern.



A man's plan to walk from Detroit to Toronto ended Thursday in the middle of frozen Lake St. Clair, when an icebreaker spotted him, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

A lookout on the Cutter Neah Bay spotted the 25-year-old man walking on the lake about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, 1 ½ miles from Ontario's Seaway Island, the Coast Guard said in a statement. It said the 140-foot icebreaker sent a crew on foot to check on him.

The crew questioned him and treated him for hypothermia, the Coast Guard said.

"He was in the beginning stages of hypothermia," Lt. Joshua Zike, commander of the cutter, told the Times Herald of Port Huron. "It took him a long time to formulate his thoughts."

The man, a U.S. citizen, wasn't dressed for conditions on the lake, had no flotation gear and no form of communication, the Coast Guard said. Zike said he was carrying a backpack with food and clothes, a sleeping bag and tarp.



A plane from Atlanta skidded off a runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport while landing Thursday, crashing through a chain-link fence and coming to rest with its nose perilously close to the edge of an icy bay.

The Delta flight veered off the runway at around 11:10 a.m., authorities said. Emergency responders were still assessing people, but any injuries appeared to be minor, the Fire Department of New York said.

The plane came to rest in several inches of snow.

Passengers trudged through the snow in an orderly line after climbing off the plane. Both the airport's runways are closed until further notice, which is standard procedure after such incidents.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said the passengers were bused to a terminal. It said the airline will work with authorities to figure out what caused the crash.



The sloppy serving of winter weather kept Virginia State Police busy, fielding 1,155 calls for service statewide over four hours. From noon to 4 p.m. Thursday, troopers responded to 491 traffic crashes and 222 disabled vehicles. The majority of the crashes involved damaged vehicles only.

A Virginia State Police team recovered a vehicle and a deceased passenger in Buchanan County after the car was swept into the Russell Fork River. Officials say the driver was able to escape, but the passenger was swept away with the vehicle.



Sleet and ice coated north Alabama in a treacherous glaze Thursday, making travel difficult and forcing schools, government offices and businesses to shut down yet again because of the weather. Forecasters said travel problems could persist through early Friday because of subfreezing temperatures. Police in Irondale suspected icy conditions as a factor in a crash involving more than a dozen vehicles including 18-wheeler trucks near the I-459 and I-20 interchange.



Thursday's heavy snow kept most people home and cars off the streets, but Rob Pressly had other plans. The 29-year-old got a little stir crazy after doing some work at home, so he decided to strap on his cross-country skis and take a tour of Capitol Hill.

Though Pressly has been skiing for years, Thursday was his first time trying it out on city streets.

He said he'd been tempted by other storms in the six years he's lived in Washington, and after seeing that his neighbors had yet to shovel their driveways, he figured the city was in a similar state.

The trip from his home to the Mall took him about 20 minutes, Pressly said.

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)