Each winter season brings an array of challenges, from cold weather to unrelenting snow accumulation to frustrating power outages. Hazardous conditions grind business to a halt and threaten essential services. Just getting from Point A to Point B can become a deadly undertaking. Here are ten of the scariest news stories from last year.
Kentucky Travelers Stranded for More than 12 Hours
Governor Beshear declared a state of emergency two times last winter due to bitter cold and heavy accumulation. The February 16 snowfall beat the 1998 record as blizzard conditions stranded drivers on the I-60 overnight and the Red Cross set up emergency shelters.
25 Deaths in Massachusetts Due to Snow Removal Efforts
Continuous blizzard conditions led to 25 deaths caused by efforts to remove the massive amounts of snowfall that piled up in the 2015 season. Deaths occurred due to homeowners falling from roofs while removing snow and pedestrians being hit by plowing equipment.
Hypothermia and Accidents Responsible for Multiple Deaths in Tennessee
Freezing temperatures and treacherous traffic conditions resulted in 22 deaths in six days as a Level II State of Emergency was declared due to major impacts on the state’s infrastructure, roads, and power supply.
Icy Conditions Lead to Massive Pile-Up on I-459
20 vehicles were involved in a chain reaction crash at the I-20 interchange due to icy conditions. This accident was particularly remarkable due to the fact there was little snow on the ground, yet changing temperatures made the roads unexpectedly slick for unwary commuters.
Chicago Area Deaths Caused by Snow Shoveling
At least 13 people died over a three-day period in the Chicago area after attempting to remove the massive amounts of snow that accumulated on their driveways and walkways. Most of the victims suffered a heart attack or cardiac arrest resulting from snow shoveling.
120,000 Homes Expected to Lose Electricity
Connecticut residents bracing for an upcoming storm were warned that snow and winds as high as 65 mph (104 km/h) could result in loss of power as crews struggled to repair lines in blizzard conditions. Governor Malloy stated the power outage could last for several days.
52 Car Crashes and 75 Disabled Vehicles Clutter the Roadways
As part of a huge storm that dropped massive amounts of snow from Nebraska to Maine, blizzard conditions resulted in extremely hazardous traveling for Milwaukee residents. Numerous accidents over a 24-hour period led to the shutdown of I-43.
Dwindling Salt Supply Threatens Snow Removal
A town in Maryland faced a salt crisis when unexpectedly heavy snowfalls exhausted the supply. Town managers were forced to consider emergency measures such as laying cinder on roads, which is considerably less effective, leaving the roads treacherous for travelers.
Roofs Risk Collapse Under Heavy Snow
Massachusetts residents faced the real threat of roof collapse as 2015 snow accumulations increased without any respite. Homeowners were warned to keep an eye on their roofs and to watch for signs of imminent collapse, such as cracking or popping sounds.
FEMA Rejects Massachusetts Appeal for Snow Disaster Relief
Last winter Governor Baker requested the federal disaster agency to consider the period from January to February a single disaster to be eligible for 75% reimbursement of snow removal costs, but FEMA denied this request.
Pretty crazy stuff, no? Here’s hoping for a milder and certainly safer winter this year!