A massive winter storm complete with snow, below-freezing temperatures, and freezing rain served as the welcome mat for winter in the U.S. last week. Hundreds of accidents happened on icy roads, and thousands of flights were either delayed or cancelled as a result of the weather.
Snow fell from the Midwest to the Northeast in the first big winter storm of the season. At least nine deaths have been reported as a result of ice on the roads. Still, multiple weather-related traffic fatalities are still being investigated.
One of the most horrific accidents occurred in Baltimore , when a tanker transporting gasoline slid off of the highway and exploded. There were 67 vehicles and one tanker involved in the crash, which occurred just before 5 a.m. on Saturday, December 17 and resulted in two deaths.
Authorities said they aren’t sure whether the pileup started before the tanker crashed or was caused by the tanker. But this wasn’t the only accident caused by the slick roads.
One Ohio woman died on Saturday after her car skidded off the road. In Indianapolis, State Patrol troopers responded to upwards of 380 property damage crashes. Durability was listed as the number one factor by 88% of people looking to buy a new roof, but winter-related car crashes bring a whole new set of concerns to reinforcing homes. Slick roads and freezing temperatures led to crashes and property damage across the country.
The U.S. braced for the cold temperatures. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport reported a low of minus 13 degrees on Sunday, just one degree shy of the 1983 low of minus 14 degrees.
A wind chill advisory was in effect until 10 AM on Sunday. Wind chills made temperatures fall to minus 30 degrees in Waukegan and West Chicago during the night. Weather service meteorologist Matt Friedlein explained that while it was only a light wind, it was enough to make the air feel much colder than it actually was.
Almost 300 schools across Chicago were closed on Monday due to the weather, and delays were reported on nearly every Metra line.
Citizens across the country are reporting weather-related difficulties, including seasoned winter drivers. One Colorado man said that the first snow phenomenon is often called “highway hockey” because of how often cars bump into one another.