Heavy, wet snow: Part of a storm system thatin the Houston area Tuesday, covered roads, vehicles, homes and buildings Wednesday from central and northern Indiana to much of southeast Michigan.
About six inches of snow was expected to fall in the Detroit area, while four inches was reported before noon in eastern Indiana, just southwest of Fort Wayne, said Maddi Johnson of the National Weather Service in northern Indiana.
Wednesday’s storm was expected to bring damaging winds to parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, forecasters said. Winter weather advisories extended from southern Missouri to Maine, with areas of New England expected to see 8 to 12 inches of snow, the National Weather Service said. Missouri Governor Mike Parson declared a state of emergency due to weather.
In Michigan, snow caused several fatal accidents around Kalamazoo.
Fort Wayne, Indiana has seen numerous crashes due to snowfall on the highways.
“People are running off the exit ramps on the highways,” Johnson added. “They are driving too fast for the conditions.”
Just north of Indianapolis, some power outages were reported in Hamilton County as wet snow accumulated on power lines, said meteorologist Gregory Melo with the Indianapolis weather service office.
Indianapolis had recorded 2.8 inches around 11:30 a.m. local time Wednesday, and while the snow was still falling, it was expected to end by early afternoon. The total amount of snowfall was projected to range between 5 and 8 inches north and northeast of Indianapolis by mid-afternoon.
“This is one of the first major snowfalls we’ve ever had,” said Scott Cabauatan, deputy director of utilities in Wayne County, which includes Detroit. “This snowfall raises a concern from the standpoint of it being heavy, wet snow versus lighter snow.”
Cabauatan said crews will clear approximately, at a regular pace, just under 5,000 lane miles of highway.
“We will have around 100 crews and operators working” at any given time to salt and clear roads of snow and ice, he added.
Snow is also forecast for weekends and through the weekend. “We anticipate many straight days of working here and being on the trucks,” Cabauatan said.
Schools and businesses remained closed Wednesday in parts of Oklahoma, with snowfall of between 1 and 6 inches across the central and eastern parts of the state. More than 160,000 homes and businesses lost power Wednesday morning in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri after heavy snow fell in the Ozarks the day before.
In Arkansas, a truck overturned on a snow-covered highway near Fayetteville. The weather also caused power outages, leaving more than 100,000 people in the dark.
On Tuesday, forecasters issued a rare tornado emergency for the Houston area as the storm system moved through the densely populated area. Substantial damage was reported in cities east of Houston, but there were no reports of injuries. On Wednesday one of the tornadoes was confirmed to be a powerful EF3.
In Louisiana, three people suffered “mild to moderate injuries” when their mobile homes were overturned or destroyed after a tornado struck the Morel Lane area north of Baton Rouge, the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
In Texas, several businesses in Pasadena, east of Houston, sustained significant damage, including the city’s animal shelter. Rescue groups were able to relocate dozens of cats and dogs, but many still need homes.