DETROIT (AP) — Freezing rain left roads slippery, cut power to thousands of homes and businesses, and prompted officials to close hundreds of schools in parts of the Midwest on Wednesday, while flooding caused by ice jams prompted evacuations in Michigan and Illinois.
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory warning of freezing rain, snow and another round of cold weather from Nebraska through Michigan. The warnings also come in the wake of snow, ice and shivering cold hitting normally mild cities in the West.
School districts including Detroit’s were closed Wednesday, as was Wayne State University after residents awoke to a thick coating of ice covering streets, driveways and vehicles. Freezing rain in Kansas and Missouri created icy roadways blamed in two separate crashes that killed three people. The icy conditions prompted officials to cancel classes at dozens of schools in both states.
In mid-Michigan, flooding caused by an ice jam along the Grand River in Portland prompted officials to evacuate about 50 people from homes near the river. Jim Hilligan told the Lansing State Journal that emergency response officials went door-to-door evacuating residents.
„They weren’t rushing, but they were like, ‘You guys got to get out of your house, the river has broken the banks,'” Hilligan said.
Major utilities reported more than 50,000 customers were without power early Wednesday in the state, mostly in western Michigan, after freezing rain brought down trees and power lines.
Ice was also breaking up along the Kankakee River in northeastern Illinois, flooding some roads and prompting evacuations. The National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning in the area Wednesday morning.
Dangerously low temperatures set in across the Northern Plains, while storms moving into North Dakota and western Minnesota were expected to bring as much as a foot of snow (30.5 centimeters) and wind chills as low as minus 40 (negative 40 Celsius).
Heavy snowfall blanketed states to the West, including Utah, where a winter storm triggered a rare snow day for many students, delayed government operations and snarled morning traffic. Snowfall closed schools and kept snow plow operators busy across northern Arizona early Wednesday, with Flagstaff residents waking up to 9.4 inches of snow (24 centimeters), according to the National Weather Service.
Bitter cold also moved into the Sierra Nevada on Wednesday on the heels of a storm that dropped up to 3 feet (91 centimeters) of snow on the mountains around Lake Tahoe the day before.
A slow-moving arctic front anchored in the Rockies is expected to spread heavy snow from the northern Plains into the Upper Great Lakes on Wednesday before pushing into upstate New York and parts of New England.
More than a half-foot of snow is possible from South Dakota through Minnesota to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan through Thursday.
The storm has already slammed parts of Michigan, where ice accumulation knocked out power to tens of thousands of customers in west-central parts of the state.
Almost three dozen states were under snow, ice or flooding alerts as freezing rain hit southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and parts of Michigan. About 350 schools in Detroit were closed Wednesday because of the ice storm.
The Twin Cities slowed to a standstill on Tuesday as parts of the metro area saw half a foot of snow; other parts of the state, and parts of Wisconsin, received 10 inches.
A second wave of wintry weather through Thursday could bring icy conditions from eastern Kansas and parts of Missouri to eastern Iowa, southern Wisconsin and northern Lower Michigan.
All roads in Yosemite are closed due to heavy snow and fallen trees. People currently in Yosemite should stay inside to avoid falling trees.`
We will provide an update when roads open. Call 209/372-0200 (then 1, 1) to check road status anytime.
The National Weather Service says the warmer side of the front could see heavy rain, isolated severe thunderstorms and flooding from the southern states north to the Ohio Valley.
Meanwhile, on the West Coast, snow, ice and cold weather blasted normally mild-weather cities from Seattle to Las Vegas to San Francisco.
Heavy snow in Yosemite prompted the National Park Service to close all roads in the park and warn visitors to stay indoors „to avoid falling trees.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Slow-moving Arctic front could bring heavy snow from South Dakota to Upper Michigan
Having crying, screaming kids on your flight is taxing, yes, but even more so if you’re the parent of those crying, screaming children.
Stephanie Hollifield, a mom blogger for Momstrosity, wrote an open letter to an annoyed gentleman on her flight who appeared visibly bothered by her toddler’s cries midair.
„I first noticed you when you sighed loudly as you laid eyes on me and my toddler boarding the plane. From the over dramatic huffs and puffs you let out as we buckled in, it was clear that you were annoyed by our very presence,” the mom started in a lengthy social-media post. „I wondered if you had a bad day, or if this grouchy temperament was your normal temperament.” She wrote that as her daughter had a tantrum, the man continued his „mutters of annoyance and looks over your shoulder. You even shoved the back of the sear towards us.”
Hollifield went on to explain that this was her first time flying with her baby girl and that when her daughter started to throw a tantrum, she felt ashamed and guilty for being unable to calm her kid. So much so that she almost started crying right along with her daughter.
„I apologized to everyone around me. I almost started crying myself. I was feeling shame and guilt for not being able to control my own child,” shared Hollifield. „I was at the end of my rope, but then, an angel to the rescue- the flight attendant came by and gave my daughter a cup and straw to play with.”
The mom went on to say how a simple kind gesture was all nervous flying mothers really need and that if you can’t be kind or offer up a smile, then just keep your judgments to yourself.
She said she also realized: „The problem wasn’t with us, it was with you. What you need to know, is that while children can be terribly inconvenient now, they will run the world when you are old and grey.”
Hollifield is the same mom who went viral in November for asking the internet for help with her black daughter’s hair.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mom to man annoyed with toddler on flight: ‘The problem wasn’t with us, it was with you’
By Allison Lampert and Tracy Rucinski
MONTREAL/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Harsh winter weather and the partial U.S. government shutdown boosted demand for private jets in January, according to three business aviation companies that recently reported an uptick last month in deep-pocketed travelers seeking alternatives to commercial flying.
Business jets fly through regional airports which were less exposed than major hubs to weather-related delays and unpredictable security lines during a 35-day government shutdown that ended on Jan. 25.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said many employees, who went unpaid during the shutdown, did not report to work due to financial hardship. Congressional negotiators are working to avert another shutdown on Feb. 15.
„The combination of frigid temperatures and the TSA issues caused during the shutdown had a lot of people calling us in January,” said Patrick Gallagher, executive vice president, sales and marketing of NetJets, the world’s largest private jet company.
U.S.-based NetJets, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., saw customer flight hours rise more than 9 percent for most of January on an annual basis.
James Elian, president and chief operating officer of Canada’s AirSprint, said the private aviation company’s daily U.S. flights avoid potential congestion at major hubs where the need to de-ice planes, for example, contributes to delays.
Together, the three largest U.S. airlines American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines canceled roughly 11,500 flights in January due to weather or air traffic control issues, similar to combined cancellations in January, 2018.
Private aviation accounts for a tiny fraction of total air travel because the cost of flying private, while varying widely by plane size and company, is out of reach for most passengers.
For example, a one-way flight from Los Angeles to New York would cost around $1,500 in a commercial airline’s first-class cabin, said Adam Twidell, chief executive of Private Fly, a digital booking platform for on-demand private jets. He said the same flight would cost around $3,500 to $4,000 per person on a fully-booked business jet with around 10 seats.
Passengers who can afford it will spend more to fly private if it means avoiding lengthy delays, Twidell said. Private Fly, for one, booked a private flight for corporate clients who had been stranded for 10 hours at Boston Logan airport in late January, he said.
„Clients will wait a certain amount of time to try and solve their delays through scheduled airlines, but when they can’t wait any longer, the extra cost of private aviation is something they are prepared to pay for.”
(Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio)
The Hague (AFP) – Dutch scientists said Wednesday they are baffled after 20,000 dead or dying guillemots washed up on North Sea beaches in a phenomenon not seen for decades.
The fish-eating seabirds have been washing up between the northern Wadden Islands and southwestern Zeeland — all showing symptoms of severe starvation, a marine biologist said.
„What’s killing them though is the million-dollar question,” Mardik Leopold, a maritime researcher for Wageningen University, told AFP.
„And we still don’t know what the answer is. It’s an alarming situation,” he added.
„The last time we saw high mortality rates like this was in the 1980s and 1990s.”
A number of questions are puzzling scientists, he said.
The bird deaths are confined only to Dutch shores — nothing has been reported in Belgium or Germany.
High winds and stormy winter seas also could affect the birds’ feeding patterns on herring and sprat as they become too fatigued to eat, Leopold said.
„But again, why are the deaths only localised to the Netherlands? Surely we’re not the only place experiencing winter weather?” said Leopold.
Dutch media have raised the question of whether the deaths may be linked to a recent container spill, littering the Dutch and German coast lines with debris, including plastic toys, polystyrene, shoes and at least one bag with a dangerous powder identified by authorities as „organic peroxide.”
But Leopold said an initial autopsy on a small number of birds showed „no plastic” in their stomachs.
Similarly, if the birds were affected by a chemical, other animals would also have shown symptoms, the marine biologist said.
„The birds were not covered in oil either,” he added.
Dutch authorities said Wednesday they had been told by the MSC shipping company that at least 341 containers were lost off the MSC Zoe as it was battling a storm last month.
Scientists are now planning a mass autopsy of hundreds of dead birds next week, hoping to shed more light on the mystery.
However, the species is not threatened with extinction. Some two million guillemots live in the North Sea, the NOS public broadcaster said.