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April blizzard shuts down most of Central U.S. Special

By Micki Hogan     Apr 10, 2013 in Environment
A spring blizzard now being called Winter Storm Walda closed airports and freeways in the Central United States. The storm caused a train to derail, widespread damage and brought normal life to a standstill.
The powerful storm is thought to be the cause of a Union Pacific train derailment early Tuesday morning in North Bend Nebraska. According to local news channel KETV7 out of Omaha NE, 21 empty coal train cars derailed and blocked both rail ways. 21 rail ties are being replaced as quickly as possible to restore the use of that stretch of railroad. No injuries have been reported. An investigation of the derailment is underway but it is believed the powerful storm that moved through the area is the cause.
Denver International Airport canceled nearly 500 flights due to the storm with the estimated snowfall at the airport of 6.4 inches. The amount is much higher in the mountain area of the area. Flights at the Chicago O'Hare Airport were delayed due to the heavy fog caused by the powerful storm. Countless highways and interstates were closed from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes including major roads like I80 and I90. It is reported that about 180 miles of Interstate I25 was closed to white out conditions with zero visibility. According to Yahoo News this is the first time drivers have been virtually stranded this winter season.
Many of the states in the plains area of the U.S. are reporting more than a foot of snow. In Eastern Nebraska snow drifts caused by blowing snow have been reported to be 8 to 9 feet high . Strong winds, freezing rain and blizzard conditions have left cars frozen shut and many scrambling to find alternate ways to and from their destinations. Widespread power outages have electric companies battling the winter conditions in the hopes to restore power as quickly as possible to hundreds without power.
The storm has caused havoc for businesses. Not only did normal travel come to a stand still. Damage has been reported in multiple states because of the high winds accompanied by the spring storm. In Pueblo Co winds with speeds of 64 miles per hour caused a motorcycle dealership building to partially collapse due to the wind. In Wyoming, damage was reported in Stillwater County where one community college had broken windows and damage has been reported at a local marina at the Flaming Gorge Reservoir where winds were reported at 71 miles per hour. In San Fransisico trees were uprooted due to winds reported at 80 miles per hours. The same winds fueled wildfires burning in California. In Phoenix Arizona a dust storm was created by the strong gusts of wind.
Reports of residential damage have only begun to be reported. One home near Mcginn's Lake in Nebraska was reported to be destroyed. In Washington County Co. it has been reported that a trailer home rolled completely over onto it's roof. A roof blew off a barn and six power poles were knocked over due to the powerful gusts of wind.
Residents are strongly urged to remain in their homes and prepare for power outages and stay informed as the powerful winter blizzardbbegins to bear down on a region that spans from the Great Lakes south to the Gulf of Mexico. A few of states to be effected today by the storm are Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kentucky. It is unknown how powerful this storm may have become overnight. Freezing temperatures and rain are to be expected with heavy snowfall and white out conditions. Strong winds and possible tornadoes in the southern and eastern regions of the area are possible before the storm finally makes it way to the Atlantic states of the United States
The Weather Channel's website and television channel are tracking this storm very closely and are providing updates as quickly as they come in. The video above reports on the winter storm and tracks the projected path of the storm. Residents of the affected areas are encouraged to stay up to date as the storm creates chaos in the area.
More about Snow, Blizzard, I80, I25, Denver international airport
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