Massive winter storm wreaks havoc on travelers

snow-5.jpg
assist

A massive storm is blasting millions of Americans with snow and freezing rain from the Great Lakes to the Northeast. The storm dropped new snow from Washington state to Maine – some places got more than six inches.  

Snow and ice slammed parts of the Midwest and Northeast Sunday night, covering cars, coating roads and sending drivers careening off of them, CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil reports.

The thick blanket of powder looked beautiful from the air, but was a nightmare on the ground, difficult to clean up and nearly impossible to drive through. 

“This is one of the worst storms you’ve dealt with?” Dokoupil asked one towing company owner.

“One of. It just never stops. This one, it didn’t give us a break at all,” said Jeff Butera, who runs a towing company in western New York. 

His drivers have been working around the clock. Over the weekend, they received around 70 calls in 22 hours.  

“I give them a lot of credit for staying it in, I mean, they’re tired, they’re wore out, this snowstorm just didn’t quit,” Butera said.

Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace said it’s not unusual to see a several crashes after the first major storm.

“Speed is probably the factor in 75 to 85 percent of the crashes. They just go too fast,” Gerace said.

Icy conditions contributed to a pileup in Michigan on Interstate 75, and a plane slid off the runway after landing at Detroit Metro Airport during the storm. 

At most airports, the problem was simply getting off the ground. More than 1,200 flights were canceled at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports through Sunday.

Richard Watson is worried about his health after getting stuck during a layover.

“I’m a little concerned because I’m a liver transplant patient, and last night was the last dose of the anti-rejection medicine I’m carrying, so I need to get back to Washington today,” Watson said.