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.


South Sudan opposition leader returns to meet with president

Updated 19 October 2019

South Sudan opposition leader returns to meet with president

  • Riek Machar last met face-to-face with President Salva Kiir in September, when they discussed outstanding issues in a fragile peace deal
  • The civil war killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions

JUBA, South Sudan: South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar returned to the country Saturday to meet with President Salva Kiir less than a month before their deadline to form a unity government after a five-year civil war.
Machar last met face-to-face with Kiir in September, when they discussed outstanding issues in a fragile peace deal. His two-day visit includes a meeting with the US ambassador to the United Nations, who arrives Sunday with a UN Security Council delegation.
The delegation is expected to encourage progress in the peace deal signed a year ago but fraught with delays.
Both Kiir and Machar will meet with the delegation Sunday, government spokesman Michael Makuei said.
The opposition has said Machar won’t return to South Sudan for good to form the government by the Nov. 12 deadline unless security arrangements are in place.
The US has said it will reevaluate its relationship with South Sudan if that deadline is missed.
The civil war killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions.
Before Machar’s return a unified army of 41,500 opposition and government soldiers needs to be ready along with a 3,000-person VIP protection force.
But so far there are only 1,000 unified soldiers and security arrangements won’t meet the deadline, deputy opposition spokesman Manawa Peter Gatkuoth said.
The previous Machar-Kiir meeting focused on speeding up the screening and reunification of forces, but parties left the talks with differing views.
Deputy chairman for the opposition Henry Odwar called the meeting “lukewarm,” while Makuei called it “highly successful” and said everything was on track for next month’s deadline.