Winter Storms Wreak Havoc On Both Coasts

(CBS/AP) Drivers in much of the Northeast navigated a treacherous mix of rain, sleet and snow Monday as a storm blamed for at least 17 deaths slid through the region after pounding the Upper Midwest. At the same time, a new storm system was wreaking havoc on the West Coast and expected to give the Midwest a second taste of snow.

Schools canceled or delayed classes from New York to Maine as highways turned slippery and wind gusted to 40 mph in parts of the region.

Tens of thousands of customers in Connecticut and Pennsylvania lost power and in New Jersey, a 15-car pileup killed one person and injured nearly 30, reports CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano.

The speed limit on part of the Massachusetts Turnpike was cut to 40 mph as police reported numerous traffic accidents around the state during the morning commute. States put hundreds of plows on the roads, including about 650 in New Hampshire alone.

Most courts in Maine closed for the day and Gov. John Baldacci considered sending state workers home early. Communities around the state imposed parking bans for Monday and Tuesday to make way for snowplows.

"It's snowing so hard you can hardly keep your eyes open," said Bill Swain, spokesman for Maine's Sugarloaf USA ski area in Carrabassett Valley.

The National Weather Service said a foot of snow was possible in the mountains of northern New England, with the potential for 20 inches in northern Maine and a foot in northern New York's central Adirondacks and Lake George region.

By Monday morning, 6 inches of snow had fallen at Springfield, Vt., and in parts of central New York state.

Ice storm warnings were issued for Massachusetts and Connecticut, and winter storm warnings were in effect in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and northern and western New York.

Air travel was disrupted Monday at the Portland International Jetport in Maine as flights were canceled because of poor conditions at connecting airports.

Fast Fact

The National Weather Service said a foot of snow was possible in the mountains of northern New England, with the potential for 20 inches in northern Maine.
Hundreds of flights into the New York City area's three main airports -- Kennedy, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia -- were delayed as long as two hours Sunday by wind and ice, and hundreds of flights were canceled Saturday at Chicago's O'Hare.

Airliners slid off slippery pavement during the weekend at airports in Syracuse, N.Y.; Des Moines, Iowa, and Madison, Wis. No one was injured.

On the opposite side of the country, a new storm system hammered the Northwest with wind gusting higher than 100 mph in some spots and surf reported 45 feet high.

Mudslides halted north-south Amtrak passenger train service between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, British Columbia, fallen trees and flooding blocked all highways into Tillamook, Ore., authorities said. Utilities said some 70,000 homes and businesses were blocked out in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.

In Washington, a messy mixture of wind and rain caused record flooding in the Chehalis River basin with nearly every road in some towns either blocked or closed - forcing evacuations and rescues, reports Solorzano.

A second blast expected on the coast later Monday could be the strongest storm coming ashore since 1999, weather service meteorologists said, issuing issued the region's first warning for hurricane-force wind.

The Northwest's severe weather was expected to reach the Upper Midwest with snow on Tuesday, the weather service in Minneapolis said.

That would be just three days after that region was battered by the storm that was affecting the Northeast on Monday. Minnesota's Grand Marais, on Lake Superior's North Shore, got 20 inches of snow Saturday, according to the weather service. Earlier, that same system dumped about 3 feet of snow in one mountain area in western Colorado.

Icy or wet pavement was blamed for four deaths in Michigan, three in Wisconsin, two in New Jersey and one each in Illinois, Indiana, New York, North Dakota and Colorado. One of the New Jersey deaths occurred during the night in a 15-car pileup that also injured 28 people, police said.

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