Storms slow truckers, close mountain passes

| 1/30/2008

Snow, high winds and closed highways made trucking a challenge in much of the central and western part of the country on Tuesday. A combination of snow, high winds, wrecks and low visibility temporarily shut down interstates in Minnesota, Colorado, Wyoming and Washington.

In Washington, The Associated Press reported that more than 200 trucks were backed up at North Bend because Interstate 90 was shut down at Snoqualmie Pass. Washington State Department of Transportation officials estimate that semis make up 20 percent to 25 percent of the 27,000 vehicles that travel over Snoqualmie Pass on an average Tuesday.

Across the northern plains, temperatures plunged by as much as 50 degrees in a matter of hours, producing wind chills in the 30 below to 50 below zero range.

In Indiana, three people were killed when thunderstorms packing 80-mile-an-hour winds swept across the state.

Tuesday’s forecast called for the storm to move into the northeast, spreading freezing air and tropical-storm-force gusts from Boston to Washington, DC.