Winter storm blamed for 21 deaths

| 12/30/2002

A winter storm, blowing out of the Midwest on Tuesday and sweeping across Pennsylvania, New York and New England, has been blamed for at least 21 deaths. Most of the deaths stemmed from traffic accidents. Since Monday, seven people died in Missouri, four in Oklahoma, three in Kansas, two in New Mexico and Pennsylvania and one each in Illinois, New York and Ohio.

Stretches of major highways were closed and airplanes were grounded. Media reports estimated the number of homes and businesses without power Thursday morning at more than 200,000. The storm dumped snow up to three feet in some areas.

In New York, television stations called the storm the ninth fiercest listed for the area in National Weather Service records dating back to 1884. Portions of the western Catskills reported 15 to 30 inches. Northeast Pennsylvania averaged one to two feet.

According to news reports, at the height of the storm, a 103-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway was shut down between Syracuse and Amsterdam until after midnight because plows couldn't keep up, and parts of three Pennsylvania interstates were also closed.

The edge of the storm brought 9 inches of snow to parts of Michigan. In Cleveland, 10.2 inches of snow fell.