Winter storms slam U.S., blamed for multiple deaths

Dangerous winter conditions

Back-to-back storms are slamming much of the country with heavy snow, wind and freezing rain, reports Ali Ingersoll of CBS News’ Buffalo affiliate WIVB.

Intense lake-effect snow brought near-whiteout conditions overnight to parts of central New York State. Sections of the Pacific Northwest are under winter weather warnings. And temperatures are plunging as the storms in the northern half of the country move east and south.

In Erie, Pennsylvania, part of Interstate-90 looked more like an abandoned junkyard.

Heavy snowfall triggered a crash involving at least 13 vehicles, reportedly injuring 15 people. Further down I-90 near the Pennsylvania border, a 75-pileup car pileup shut down the interstate. It remained closed for hours in both directions.

A massive 40 -car crash in Michigan killed three people and injured 11 more.

“As you can see, the road are pretty slick right now,” said Sgt. Toby Bottorff of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

On the West Coast, Oregon state police say the weather is tied to at least one deadly crash on highway 99 in Benton County. Officials say icy roads were a factor.

“I called my wife and told her to stay home because there’s a lot of people who are planning on shopping or going somewhere for the Christmas season, but right now it’s not worth it,” Bottorff said.

The storm grounded air travel as well. At the Portland Airport, hundreds of flights were canceled.

“Anytime you have a winter storm like this, with ice, it doesn’t take much accumulation to cause very hazardous walking conditions and travel conditions,” said Eric Boldt of the National Weather Service.