Winter storm turns deadly, creating travel nightmares and thousands of power outages

The storm hurled everything from an EF2 tornado to more than 22 inches of snow at parts of the eastern U.S. over the weekend, resulting in dozens of crashes, knocking out power to tens of thousands and killing at least two

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Prince William County on #I95 at the 151 mile marker. (Twitter/@VSPPIO)
Prince William County on #I95 at the 151 mile marker. (Twitter/@VSPPIO)

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – January 17, 2022 – An intense and deadly winter storm, the first major weather system this season to hit some parts of the eastern half of the United States, triggered warnings in more than a dozen states and wreaked havoc on the roadways, causing hundreds of accidents, leading to at least two fatalities, and spurred hundreds of thousands of power outages.

The storm started before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in the Midwest. Des Moines International Airport received 14.3 inches of snow while surrounding areas in Iowa got at least a foot of snow. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, multiple accidents occurred on Interstate 35 early Saturday morning, and many other vehicles spun out or stalled as the snowstorm created treacherous driving conditions on the roadways.

As the weekend got underway, heavy snow was reported in Arkansas, with multiple areas in the state picking up more than 5 inches of snow by lunchtime Saturday. While no snow accumulated, light snow flurries were recorded as far south and west as Dallas, Texas.

The highest Southern snowfall total was recorded in Valley Springs, Arkansas, with a total of 14 inches of snow. Some other areas in the South recorded more than a foot of snow, including East Flats, North CarolinaLeesburg, Mississippi, picked up 9 inches of snow, while Clarksville, Georgia, recorded 5.6 inches. Higher elevations played a big role in snow accumulations across parts of south-central U.S. The National Weather Service in Little Rock, Arkansas, reported 1.6 inches of snow on Sunday morning, while just down the street from its offices, at a lower elevation, only a trace of snow accumulated.