A strong winter storm moving over the eastern half of the country has claimed at least eight lives and knocked out power for tens of thousands of people.
A turbulent mix of rain, snow and ice that initially hit the Midwest caused havoc from the south to the northeast Thursday. It prompted school closures, hours-long delays for commuters and hundreds of flight cancellations.
This early season winter storm will bring more snow, sleet and freezing rain in the Central Appalachians through the Northeast on Friday. Heavy snowfall is expected Friday in the northern Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. In portions of Pennsylvania and New England, residents could see snowfall totals of 6 to 12 inches, the National Weather Service said.
More than 389,000 customers were without power Friday morning in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, according to Poweroutage.us.
8 weather-related deaths
The wintry weather contributed to traffic crashes that killed people in several states, authorities said.
A 60-year-old woman died Thursday in Miami County, Indiana, after she lost control of her vehicle while driving in slick road conditions and crashed, the state’s police said in a statement.
One person was also killed Thursday in Canton, Ohio, and another person in Maryland, police said.
In Mississippi, a tour bus crashed Wednesday, killing two people and wounding several others. Sgt. Joseph Miller with the Mississippi Highway Patrol said the bus carrying 46 people was traveling from Huntsville, Alabama, to Tunica, Mississippi.
The remaining occupants were taken to area hospitals with a variety of injuries. The cause of the crash was weather-related, Miller stated.
Arkansas Highway Patrol is reporting two separate incidents in which three people were killed after drivers lost control of cars on icy roads.
Traffic nightmare in New York area
For several hours Thursday crashes left drivers stuck on the George Washington Bridge, which connects from upper Manhattan to northern New Jersey. Slick roads put transportation service to a standstill as commuters waited for buses that couldn’t reach the already overcrowded Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The New Jersey State Police said they responded to 555 motor vehicle crashes and aided 1,027 motorists on Thursday.
“If you don’t have to go out, please stay home so road crews can treat the roads,” police said in a statement. “If you have to go out, please drive slowly and allow for more time to get where you are going.”
In Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, some school buses were unable to take students home because of road closures and “unsafe travel conditions.” Drivers were forced to take them back to schools in the Elizabeth Area School District where they were kept in a “shelter-like environment” until parents could pick them up.
The schools will operate on a 2-hour delay on Friday, the district said in a statement.
-Nicole Chavez and Joe Sutton reporting for CNN
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