The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

March 13, 2014

Late winter storm wallops Midwest, Northeast

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A storm that swept through the Midwest and the Northeast just a week before the start of spring dumped more than two feet of snow on parts of northern New England and caused pileups on the Ohio Turnpike involving at least 50 vehicles, leaving three people dead and a state trooper seriously injured.

Snowy conditions along the busy toll road Wednesday had emergency workers struggling to reach accidents stretched across a 2-mile section in the eastbound lanes between Toledo and Cleveland. Another series of pileups about 10 miles to the east shut down the turnpike's westbound lanes near Sandusky.

Mike Ramella, a salesman from the Cleveland suburb of Westlake, was among the drivers mired in a 7-mile backup.

"I'm surrounded," by snow and cars, he told his wife on the phone. He said he was trying to get home to her and their three children, including a newborn, after a business trip to Michigan but was unable to make it to the next exit.

A trooper responding to an accident was pinned between vehicles, said the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which confirmed the deaths of the three other people but didn't immediately have further details.

Highway Patrolman Andrew Clouser, 29, was in serious but stable condition at a Toledo hospital Wednesday night, said Ohio patrol Staff Lt. Anne Ralston.

People from Chicago to Buffalo, N.Y., to Burlington, Vt., were left wondering whether the start of spring was really next week as the snow fell and temperatures began tumbling.

Northern New England and upstate New York were digging out from some of the heaviest snowfalls Thursday, with 26 inches reported in the small town of Sharon in central Vermont and 17 inches in Warrensburg, N.Y.

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses in northern Illinois and Indiana lost power, and a few hundred flights were canceled at Chicago's airports. The city, where streets and sidewalks had only just dried out for the first time in months, got about 6 inches of snow.

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