Jan 8, 2010 9:10 AM by Associated Press
A broad snowstorm pushed eastward early Friday, dumping a light coating of snow in the Northeast, all part of a powerful cold front engulfing much of the nation.
The National Weather Service said that the edge of the storm, with light snow flurries, reached the Philadelphia area overnight and that 1 to 2 inches of snow were likely there and in the New York City metropolitan area. The weather service warned commuters to be careful trekking to work.
"People ought to take it easy when they get out on the road this morning," weather service meteorologist Bill Goodman said early Friday.
In Ohio, where icy cold winds and snow on Thursday contributed to occasionally treacherous road conditions, the weather service warned of a possible lake effect: cold arctic air blowing over open bodies of water, picking up moisture and carrying it inland, creating narrow bands of heavy snow. It said a winter storm warning was in effect until Saturday morning.
Light snow began falling across Ohio on Thursday morning, gradually intensified throughout the day and continued through the night. Up to 6 inches were expected Friday, more in the northern sections of the state.
As Thursday's snowfall blanketed the Midwest, a tractor-trailer spun out of control on a snow-slick road in Ohio, killing four people.
The tractor-trailer jackknifed on Interstate 70, crossed the highway median and swerved into oncoming traffic, colliding with a small bus transporting adult disabled passengers, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.
Three passengers on the bus were killed, as was its driver. Six other passengers of the bus, which was carrying 11 people, were injured, as was the driver of the commercial truck, Sgt. Raymond Durant said.
The accident occurred near Springfield, in southwest Ohio, where a storm that stretched as far west as the Dakotas had dumped nearly 5 inches of snow by early Thursday evening.
With the cold and icy, snow-covered roads responsible for at least 15 deaths this year, officials throughout the U.S. told people to stay home if they could.
Snowfall was heaviest in Minnesota and parts of South Dakota, where blowing winds piled up drifts too big for snowplow drivers to clear. In Illinois, six snowplows were involved in accidents, most when other vehicles rear-ended them. By Friday morning, parts of Wisconsin could see up to 12 inches of snow.
Snowflakes fell as far south as Alabama and Georgia on Thursday.
Frostbite-inducing temperatures gripped much of the nation, and schools in at least 10 states were closed, as were roads and government offices.
Nowhere was it colder than in Bismarck, N.D., where wind chills hit a frighteningly frigid 52 below zero and the temperature reached 14 below.
"The air freezes your nostrils, your eyes water and your chest burns from breathing," said Jane Tetrault, of Burke County in northwestern North Dakota. "And that's just going from the house to your vehicle."
While North Dakotans get plenty of practice with bundling up, folks in other parts of the country were still learning the basics.
With temperatures on the Texas-Mexico border expected to near freezing Thursday night, officials in Laredo issued an advisory telling residents to "dress warmly and stay dry."