Winter storm forces airline cancelations, road troubles in US

A woman walks down Glenlake Avenue towards North Clark Street as a winter storm batters Chicago on Jan. 19, 2019, in Chicago. (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Updated 20 January 2019

Winter storm forces airline cancelations, road troubles in US

  • Plane carrying 129 people skids from a slick Chicago runway
  • The massive storm which dumped 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow on some areas in the US Midwest

DETROIT, USA: A plane carrying 129 people skidded Saturday from a slick Chicago runway and a plow driver was killed when his truck rolled over outside Kansas City following a winter storm that covered many parts of the Midwest in snow and ice.
No injuries were reported on the United Airlines flight at O’Hare International Airport as it arrived Saturday morning from Phoenix, Chicago Fire officials said. The massive storm which dumped 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow on some areas in the Midwest prompted the cancelation of nearly 1,000 flights at Chicago’s airports. The average delay at O’Hare was nearly an hour Saturday afternoon.
Kansas Department of Transportation snowplow Stephen Windler, 25, died about 6 a.m. Saturday on US Highway 69, according to the Wichita Eagle . A police crash report says his truck “traveled to the right, traversing the shoulder and drove into the grass” before it rolled over. Windler was thrown from the vehicle which landed on top of him.
The storm moved Saturday toward the Northeast and New England. Some northern parts of New England could see up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow.
A 15-vehicle crash blocked a section of Interstate 55 in southeastern Missouri near Ste. Genevieve Saturday afternoon and drivers were urged to find an alternative route. In Detroit, many motorists were moving well below posted speed limits along freeways due to slushy conditions. Amtrak canceled some trains Saturday from Chicago to Washington and New York and between New York and Boston and Pennsylvania on Sunday.
In Nebraska, authorities closed Omaha’s Eppley Airfield on Friday afternoon after a Southwest Airlines plane slid off an ice-slicked runway. No one was injured. The airfield later reopened.
The snow was part of a wall of hazardous weather that moved from the Dakotas across the Great Lakes states. The storm brought snow, ice and strong winds, followed by deep cold. The highest snowfall totals were expected in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, which could see up to 18 inches (46) centimeters.
But some Midwesterners weren’t going to let a little winter weather keep them from going outside.
In downtown Detroit, Celeste Tremmel was out training for a marathon amid heavy and steady snowfall.
“When you run a marathon, you run no matter the weather,” said Tremmel, who plans to run a March marathon in South Carolina.
Running in snow is “like running in sand, so you go a lot slower and it’s a lot more work,” she said. “I’m really tired ... but 40 degrees, wind and hail is worse.”
Further east, the National Weather Service in Albany, New York, said snow could fall at a rate of 1 to 3 inches (2.5-7.5 centimeters) an hour, creating “difficult to impossible travel conditions” in areas.
The storm prompted the cancelation of a Special Olympics competition in upstate New York. Nearly 200 athletes from around New York state were expected to compete in snowshoeing, snowboarding, cross country, and Nordic and Alpine skiing at West Mountain, just outside Glens Falls.
In New York City, the worst of the storm was expected from Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, with snow accumulations of 3-6 inches (7.5-15 centimeters), followed by rain that could turn to ice as temperatures drop later Sunday. Single-digit temperatures could last into Monday. Strong wind gusts beginning Sunday afternoon could bring down snow- or ice-burdened tree limbs and power lines.
Following the storm system, some areas of the Midwest were expecting high winds and bitter cold.
In Iowa, temperatures in the teens Saturday were expected to drop below zero (-17 Celsius) overnight, producing wind chills as low as 20-below (-29 Celsius) by Sunday morning.


New virus cases in China fall for 2nd day, deaths top 2,000

In this picture taken on February 14, 2020, a Malaysia Airlines hostess (R) wearing a protective face mask checks the temperature of a Chinese passenger before she boards a flight to Beijing at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Kuala Lumpur. (AFP)
Updated 1 min 47 sec ago

New virus cases in China fall for 2nd day, deaths top 2,000

  • China may postpone its biggest political meeting of the year, the annual congress due to start in March, to avoid having people travel to Beijing while the virus is still spreading

BEIJING: New virus cases in China continued to fall Wednesday, with 1,749 new infections and 136 new deaths announced after China’s leader said disease prevention and control was at “a critical time.”
The much-criticized quarantine of a cruise ship in Japan to avoid spreading the virus ends later in the day. The 542 cases on the ship were the most in any place outside of China and medical experts have called the quarantine a failure.
The updated figures on the COVID-19 illness for mainland China bring the total for cases to 74,185 and deaths to 2,004. New cases have fallen to under 2,000 daily for the past two days.
Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke about the efforts to control the outbreak in a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described in state media.
Separately, the UN secretary-general told The Associated Press that the virus outbreak “is not out of control but it is a very dangerous situation.” Antonio Guterres said in an interview in Lahore, Pakistan, that “the risks are enormous and we need to be prepared worldwide for that.”
China has locked down several cities in central Hubei province where the outbreak hit hardest, halting nearly all transportation and movement except for the quarantine efforts, medical care and delivery of food and basic necessities.
China also may postpone its biggest political meeting of the year, the annual congress due to start in March, to avoid having people travel to Beijing while the virus is still spreading. One of the automotive industry’s biggest events, China’s biannual auto show, was postponed, and many sports and entertainment events have been delayed or canceled.
Many countries set up border screenings and airlines canceled flights to and from China to prevent further spread of the disease, which has been detected in around two dozen countries and caused almost 1,000 confirmed cases outside mainland China. Five deaths have been reported outside the mainland, in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and France.
The largest number of cases outside China is the 542 on the Diamond Princess at a port near Tokyo.
South Korea evacuated six South Koreans and a Japanese family member from the ship, and they began an additional 14-day quarantine Wednesday. More than 300 American passengers were evacuated earlier and are quarantined in the United States, including at least 14 who had tested positive for the virus.
On Tuesday, the US government said the more than 100 American passengers who stayed on the ship or were hospitalized in Japan would have to wait for another two weeks before they could return to the US
The US also upgraded its travel advisory for China to Level 4, telling its citizens not to travel to anywhere in the country and advising those currently in China to attempt to depart by commercial means.
“In the event that the situation further deteriorates, the ability of the US Embassy and Consulates to provide assistance to US nationals within China may be limited. The United States is not offering chartered evacuation flights from China,” the notice said.
“We strongly urge US citizens remaining in China to stay home as much as possible and limit contact with others, including large gatherings. Consider stocking up on food and other supplies to limit movement outside the home,” the notice said. The US previously flew out scores of its citizens on charter flights from Wuhan but does not have any further plans to do so, it said.
Despite, such warnings, the capital Beijing was showing signs of coming back to life this week, with road traffic at around a quarter of usual up from virtually nothing a week ago. While most restaurants, stores and office buildings remained closed, others had reopened. People entering were required to have their temperatures taken and register their contact information.