East and West coasts prepare for new rounds of snow and ice as deadly storms pound US


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Storms that have turned roads into icy death traps, frozen people to death from Oregon to Tennessee and even sent a plane skidding off a taxiway were expected to sock both coasts with another round of weather chaos on Friday.

New York City — which only on Tuesday saw its first significant snow in more than two years — was in the headlights as the National Weather Service laid out warnings of slightly more than 2 inches of snow through Friday in the metropolitan area, with New Jersey and Pennsylvania also getting snow.

On Thursday, an American Airlines plane slid off a snowy taxiway in Rochester, New York, after a flight from Philadelphia. No injuries were reported.

On the West Coast, Oregon's governor declared a statewide emergency Thursday night after requests for aid from multiple counties “as they enter the sixth day of severe impacts” from weather marked by freezing rain.

Thousands of residents have been without power since Saturday in parts of Oregon’s Willamette Valley after an ice storm caused extensive damage.

“We lost power on Saturday, and we were told yesterday that it would be over two weeks before it’s back on,” said Jamie Kenworthy, a real estate broker in Jasper in Lane County.

In the past two weeks, storms have blasted much of the U.S. with rain, snow, wind and frigid temperatures, snarling traffic and air travel and causing at least 45 deaths.

That included three people electrocuted Wednesday by a downed power line in Portland, Oregon. A man trying to get out of a parked car covered by the line died with a baby in his arms after slipping on the icy driveway and hitting the live wire. The baby survived.

His pregnant 21-year-old girlfriend and her 15-year-old brother died when they tried to help. Their father, Ronald Briggs, told KGW-TV that he helplessly watched their deaths.

“I have six kids. I lost two of them in one day,” he said.

Crews had made steady progress restoring power to tens of thousands of customers in Oregon after back-to-back storms, but by Friday morning more than 107,000 were without electricity, according to poweroutage.us.

Portland Public Schools canceled classes for the fourth straight day amid concerns about icy roads and water damage to buildings, and state offices in Portland were also ordered closed Friday.

In Washington, D.C., snow fell softly and the streets around the U.S. Capitol were silent. Schools closed again for the second time in a week and the government was on a two-hour delay. President Joe Biden still planned to host mayors from around the country on Friday, though, and was still heading to his Delaware beach home for the weekend. The weather service expected 4 to 6 inches in the region.

Schools were also closed due to weather conditions Friday in many counties in Maryland, northern Virginia and West Virginia, where the governor declared a state of emergency on Thursday.

Bitter weather continued in the South, where a new layer of ice formed over parts of Tennessee on Thursday — part of a broader bout of cold sweeping the country.

Authorities blamed at least 14 deaths in Tennessee on the system, which dumped more than 9 inches of snow since Sunday on parts of Nashville, a city that rarely see such accumulations. Temperatures also plunged below zero in parts of the state, creating the largest power demand ever across the seven states served by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The dead included a box truck driver who slid into a tractor-trailer on an interstate, a man who fell through a skylight while cleaning a roof, and a woman who died of hypothermia after being found unresponsive in her home.

Icy roads in Tennessee made travel treacherous Thursday night. In Anderson County outside of Knoxville, the sheriff’s department said in a social media post that emergency workers were having a difficult time responding to many crashes amid the worst road conditions in years as their own vehicles were stuck and out of service.

On Thursday, Will Compton of the nonprofit Open Table Nashville, which helps homeless people, stopped his SUV outside the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to hand out warm hats, blankets, protein drinks and socks as icy rain fell.

“People who are poor and people who are homeless are getting hit the hardest,” Compton said.

Aaron Robison, 62, has been staying at one of the city’s warming centers and said the cold wouldn’t have bothered him when he was younger. But now with arthritis in his hip and having to rely on two canes, he needed to get out of the cold.

“Thank God for people helping people on the streets. That’s a blessing,” he said.

Since extreme cold weather set in last week, more than 60 oil spills and other environmental incidents have been reported in North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields, where regulators say wind chills as low as minus 70 degrees have strained workers and equipment, making accidents more likely.

In Washington state, five people — most of them presumed homeless — died from exposure to cold in just four days last week in Seattle as temperatures plummeted to well below freezing, the medical examiner’s office said.