INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Heavy, wet snow — part of a storm system that spawned tornadoes in the Houston area — blanketed streets, vehicles, homes and buildings from central and northern Indiana to much of southeastern Michigan on Wednesday .
About six inches of snow was expected to fall on the Detroit area, while four inches were reported in eastern Indiana, southwest of Fort Wayne, before noon, said Maddi Johnson of the Northern Indiana National Weather Service.
Wednesday’s storm should bring damaging winds to parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, forecasters said. The winter weather warnings stretched from southern Missouri to Maine, with 8 to 12 inches of snow expected in areas of New England, the National Weather Service said.
Fort Wayne, Indiana has seen numerous accidents due to the snowfall on the roads.
“People are sliding off the exit ramps on the freeways,” Johnson added. “You’re just going too fast for the conditions.”
Some power outages were reported north of Indianapolis in Hamilton County as wet snow piled up on power lines, said meteorologist Gregory Melo of the Indianapolis Weather Service office.
Indianapolis had recorded 2.8 inches around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, and while the snow was still falling, it was expected to end by early afternoon. Total snowfall amounts have been forecast at 5 to 8 inches north and northeast Indianapolis for the mid to late afternoon.
“This is one of the first big snowfalls we’ve had,” said Scott Cabauatan, assistant director of public services for Wayne County, which includes Detroit. “This snowfall is a cause for concern as it is wet, heavy snow compared to lighter snow.”
Cabauatan said crews will roughly clear nearly 5,000 lane miles of roadway on a regular pass. “We will have around 100 machines and operators on duty at all times to salt and clear the roads of snow and ice,” he added.
Snow is also forecast for the end of the week and for the weekend. “We anticipate working here and sitting in the trucks for many days,” Cabauatan said.
Schools and businesses remained closed in parts of Oklahoma on Wednesday, where snowfall ranging from 3 to 15 centimeters fell in central and eastern parts of the state. More than 160,000 homes and businesses were without power in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri on Wednesday morning after heavy snow fell in the Ozarks a day earlier.
On Tuesday, forecasters issued a rare tornado emergency for the Houston area as the storm system moved through the densely populated area. Significant damage was reported in cities east of Houston, but there were no reports of injuries.
In Louisiana, three people suffered “minor to moderate injuries” when their RVs were overturned or destroyed after a tornado hit the Morel Lane area north of Baton Rouge, the Pointe Coupee Community Sheriff’s Office said.
In Texas, several businesses in Pasadena, east of Houston, suffered major damage, including the city’s animal shelter.
Householder reported from Wayne, Michigan. Associated Press writers Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Arkansas, David Phillip of Pasadena, Texas, and Sean Murphy of Oklahoma City contributed to this report.
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