Freezing rain makes US Northeast roads slick; 4 killed

Rain "flash-freezing" on roads and sidewalks left an icy glaze under feet and tires across much of the northeastern US, causing crashes that claimed at least four lives.

AP Last Updated: Jan 19, 2015, 03:41 AM IST

New York: Rain "flash-freezing" on roads and sidewalks left an icy glaze under feet and tires across much of the northeastern US, causing crashes that claimed at least four lives.

A crash involving 30 to 50 vehicles on an interstate highway outside Philadelphia on Sunday killed one person, and two others died in a crash involving multiple vehicles on a nearby interstate highway, police said. In Connecticut, police cited slippery conditions in a crash that killed an 88-year-old woman who struck a utility pole in New Haven.

"This is the worst type of winter precipitation to combat, because it can freeze instantly and it doesn't need to be the whole pavement for vehicles crossing it to have problems," Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Eugene Blaum said.

Freezing rain and snow was expected in interior parts of the northeastern New England states, but the temperature was expected to rise into the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit (above 5 degrees Celsius) along the coast and change the precipitation to plain rain in time for the evening AFC Championship Game between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.

On the West Coast, high winds left tens of thousands of customers without power in the Seattle area, but power companies promised Seahawks fans they'd do their best to restore power before the NFC title game against the Green Bay Packers.

In eastern Oregon, highway officials partially reopened an interstate highway yesterday after a massive crash blamed on black ice Saturday closed more than 257 kilometers of eastbound lanes. Rain was expected in western Oregon yesterday and today, but not as much as fell on Saturday, when 4.57 centimeters of rain in Portland sent some untreated sewage into the Willamette River.

Dozens of spinouts and accidents were reported from northern New Jersey to southern New Hampshire yesterday and treacherous conditions forced the closure of the New York State Thruway from Newburgh to New York City during the morning.