At least six killed as ice brings deadly road conditions across US

 

(CNN) — Blasts of cold air mixed with freezing rain have created treacherous road conditions throughout the United States over the weekend, causing multiple-car pileups and fatalities.

At least six people died in Virginia, Maryland and Oklahoma because of the dangerous road conditions, authorities said.

A 55-vehicle crash on a icy stretch of Interstate 95 in Baltimore, Maryland, left at least two people dead and motorists stranded for hours Saturday morning, according to Chief Roman Clark, a Baltimore Fire Department spokesman. Fifteen people were taken to hospitals.

A video posted on social media showed a fuel truck flipping over a median on the interstate near the Washington Boulevard exit before erupting in flames. A man is heard asking, “What is going on?” as flames and dark smoke rise from under the highway.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said good Samaritans helped pull people out of cars.

“This is the worst accident that we’ve seen,” she said.

Emergency vehicles descended on the scene, stalling traffic for miles and leading authorities to urge stranded motorists on both sides of the interstate to “remain warm and calm and shelter in place” in their cars, Clark said.

The cause was under investigation, but Clark described road conditions as “very slippery.”

In northern Virginia, authorities responded to more than 40 traffic accidents, some involving multiple vehicles, according to the state police.

One person was killed after a multi-vehicle crash at 5:12 a.m., Saturday, on Interstate 495 in Fairfax County, police said.

The man appeared to have been involved in a 23-vehicle collision — including two tractor trailers — under “slick and treacherous” road conditions, according to the state police. His body was found on the shoulder of the interstate about one mile north of the accident scene. An autopsy was to be performed.

At Dulles International Airport, just outside Washington, D.C., icy conditions forced the closure of runways for part of Saturday morning.

Nationally, there were more than 1,000 flight cancellations and more than 4,000 delays as of Sunday morning, according to FlightAware.

Dangerous wind chill

The brutal blast of frigid air is bringing bone-chilling winds and subfreezing temperatures across the country.

Arctic air plunging in behind a cold front was making its way across the Eastern Seaboard on Sunday morning, according to meteorologists.

Bitterly cold temperatures and dangerous windshield factors swept across Montana to Texas through the Great Lakes.

Potentially life-threatening wind chills as low as 50 degrees below zero were expected in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Colorado and Idaho.

Portions of Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota could get the coldest air the region has seen in two years.

New York, Washington and Boston had extremely cold temperatures Saturday, with the wind chill ranging from minus 10 to minus 35 degrees in some locations from Pennsylvania up into Maine.

Strong winds have already been an issue, with gusts in excess of 60 mph in some locations, including areas along Cape Cod.

Here’s what else you can expect

• Nearly 50% of the country will see temperatures dip below freezing Sunday.

• The cold is penetrating as far south as Texas. San Angelo went from a record high of 84 degrees to 18 on Sunday morning with a wind chill of -32 degrees.

• Flash freezing and black ice could occur as rain moves through big cities on the East Coast and temperatures quickly fall. This could especially be a concern in Boston, where temperatures will drop from the 50s Sunday to the upper teens early Monday morning.

• An unusual travel advisory was issued by the Nashville, Tennessee, weather office.

• A cold front sweeping through the Ohio Valley and the East Coast is bringing heavy showers and some flooding. Pockets of Pennsylvania have reported isolated flooding.

• Nearly 75 million people are under winter weather advisories.

Chicago Bears game could break record

This weekend’s game between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers could be the coldest since the Bears started tracking kickoff temperatures.

The previous record was set December 22, 2008 — also against the Packers. The kickoff temperature was 2 degrees, with a frigid 13 below zero wind-chill temperature.

Chicago is poised to break that record Sunday.

The Buffalo Bills on Saturday made an appeal for snow shovelers at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. The pay is $10 an hour, plus lunch and dinner and a complimentary ticket for those working four hours or longer. The Bills play the Cleveland Browns Sunday afternoon.