Winter weather hit the United States from coast to coast on Thursday as a series of storms lasted for days, mixed with an arctic air mass to bring snow and freezing rain as far as Texas, where six people died in a multiple vehicle collision.
According to meteorologist Marc Chenard of the National Weather Service’s Weather Forecast Center at College Park, Maryland, a series of freezing rains stretched from Texas to West Virginia, some of which accumulated to a quarter to a half inch.
Among the areas covered in freezing rain during Thursday morning rush hour was Fort Worth, Texas, where police said icy road surfaces were a factor in a 133-vehicle traffic wreck that began on the Interstate-35 freeways.
At least six people were killed in the buildup, and 65 more were treated in hospitals for injuries, including three who were originally in critical condition. Fire and rescue workers told reporters later that day.
“There were several people trapped within the confines of their vehicles who required the use of hydraulic rescue equipment to successfully rescue them,” said Jim Davis, Forth Worth Fire Department chief, at a news conference.
The video of the scene showed dozens of crashed cars and trucks, some of which were literally piled on top of each other on a slippery road under a cloudy sky. Much of the highway was closed in both directions for hours after the crash.
Precipitation in Texas was part of a system that brought rain to several southeastern states and modest amounts of snow to West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey, Chenard said.
A separate storm system will make itself felt in the mid-Atlantic area on Saturday, he said.
“That can cause parts of Virginia and Maryland to have potentially significant freezing rain accumulations,” he added.
Another weather system moved to the Pacific Northwest, where it is expected to stay through Saturday, bringing up to 8 inches of snow to normally rainy Seattle and 12 inches to Portland, Oregon. Seattle cuts an average of 6 inches of snow in an entire winter season.
“An event of this magnitude is rare,” said Chenard.
The northwest storm front is expected to find its way east, bringing significant snowfall into the upper Midwest and freezing rain south almost to the Texas Gulf Coast over the weekend.
“There will likely be an impact on winter weather in the east early next week,” added Chenard.
The storm systems that would normally have brought rain have been turned into snow and ice machines by a polar air mass that fell across much of the country and caused freezing temperatures before receding in mid-next week, Chenard said.
The recent low temperatures in the upper United States from Montana to Wisconsin have ranged from minus 37 to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 37 to minus 40 degrees Celsius).
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)