Winter Storm Orion Kills Several, Leaves Icy Roads Behind: State-by-State Impacts

April 19, 2014

Winter Storm Orion blanketed parts of Washington state with snow, socked Oregon and California with rain and freezing rain, contributing to several deaths. The wintry blast then moved east, as a second impulse of snow swept into the southern Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and Northeast.

School closures, power outages and hazardous traffic conditions are likely to continue into Monday morning for some regions affected by Orion.

(MORE: Tracking Winter Storm Orion)

Scroll down below for more information on how specific states have been impacted by Winter Storm Orion.


A person who jumped from an interstate bridge in southwestern Arkansas into an icy river to avoid a jackknifed 18-wheeler remains missing Sunday night. Authorities will resume their search Monday for a person who jumped from an icy interstate bridge into a river to avoid a skidding tractor-trailer in southwestern Arkansas. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman Keith Stephens says teams in boats with sonar were unsuccessful Sunday as they searched the Little Red River near Fulton. Three people were outside their vehicles after an earlier accident on the icy Interstate 30 bridge near Fulton, Ark., when a commercial truck jackknifed and slid toward them. Two people leapt over the guardrail and into the water during 29-degree weather.

The treacherous driving conditions started Friday evening when snow swept into Arkansas during rush hour. Little Rock officials said the city closed five roads because they were either blocked by abandoned cars or were unsafe.

"At this time, I encourage citizens to exercise extreme caution if they must get out on the roads," City Manager Bruce T. Moore said in a statement Saturday. He said 40 workers were out Friday night to address the storm and that 70 were on duty Saturday morning. Workers were scraping and salting the roads and putting down sand. He also said that police would tow cars left in roadways if they were restricting traffic or parked in an unsafe place.


Parts of the northern San Francisco Bay Area saw sizable amounts of rain, along with flash flood warnings. By Sunday, the community of Woodacre, which has the highest base elevation in Marin County, received more than 10 inches of rain since the storm moved in Friday, while downtown San Francisco got more than 2 inches, said Austin Cross, a National Weather Service forecaster meteorologist in Monterey.


Another blast of snow over a wide section of Kentucky has slicked roads and closed several school districts. The National Weather Service says snowfall has ended, but more bitterly cold temperatures are expected to move in Monday night. The forecast calls for overnight lows in the single digits. With the wind chill, temperatures on Tuesday morning are expected to range from 5 to 10 below zero. Meanwhile, Kentucky Transportation Department crews are treating roads across the state, but say slick spots are possible due to sub-freezing temperatures.

New Jersey

New Jerseyans are starting another week shoveling snow and brushing off their cars. A fast-moving Winter Storm Orion Sunday left behind as much as 3 inches of snow in parts of the state. Most highways are clear. But local roads may have a coating of snow and ice. Motorists are advised to use caution because of slippery spots. Temperatures are expected to remain below normal. Forecasters say a strong winter storm is possible Wednesday night into Thursday. The potential exists for 6 inches or more, but the exact track of the storm remains uncertain.

New York

Most parts of the Empire State received nothing more than a nuisance snow from Orion, as only a couple of inches accumulated in most towns affected by the storm.


The snow and ice that contributed to one death in Oklahoma has ended, at least for much of the weekend. Rusty Sherman, 25, of Ardmore was killed after the pickup truck he was riding in skidded off icy Interstate 35 and overturned near Marietta in southern Oklahoma about 1:45 a.m. Saturday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported. Sherman, a passenger in the southbound pickup, was pronounced dead at an Ardmore hospital, according to the OHP report.

"Parts of southern Oklahoma were blanketed by up to four inches of snow Friday night. Ardmore, Okla. picked up three inches of snow in just five hours, so it's easy to see how road conditions could have deteriorated quickly," meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation reported Saturday that crews continued to treat Interstate 40 and other roads in western and southern Oklahoma that remained slick and hazardous, but said that driving conditions were improving.


Officials in the Portland, Ore., and southwest Washington areas warned of an icy Monday morning commute as the National Weather Service on Sunday afternoon issued a freezing rain advisory for the region from 4 a.m. to noon. Several school districts in both states announced another day of closures for Monday after many schools shuttered Friday, and some government offices are opening two hours later than usual. In Portland, about 40 flights, or less than 10 percent of the typical 500 daily flights, were canceled Sunday morning. Most flights were generally getting in and out of the airport though with some delays, Port of Portland spokesman Steve Johnson said. The Oregon State Police said troopers statewide have responded to about 600 weather-related crashes since Thursday morning. The only fatality occurred Friday afternoon, when ice caused a man to lose control of his vehicle on Interstate 84 near Rooster Rock State Park and crash into a tree, killing his passenger — a 37-year-old Portland woman.

In central Oregon, the Deschutes County sheriff's office was investigating three storm-related deaths, including that of a 61-year-old Bend man who collapsed while shoveling snow outside his home. An elderly couple was also found Saturday buried in snow, and authorities believe they were walking through heavy snow on an unplowed driveway to their home. For bicyclists, the weather even doomed the annual "Worst Day of the Year Ride" scheduled for this weekend. Organizers had hoped to stage a 15-mile ride through downtown after announcing Thursday that its more challenging 46-mile event through the hills of west Portland was canceled for safety reasons. More than 3,000 people in the Portland region were without power Saturday morning, but almost all had lights before noon.


Forecasters say the latest winter storm brought several inches of snow to most areas of Pennsylvania, but as much as half a foot to some places in the commonwealth. The National Weather Service says 2.7 inches was reported at Philadelphia International Airport following the four- to five-hour snowfall, with several inches also reported in suburban counties. Observers reported four inches in Centre, Clearfield and Blair counties, five inches in Ebensburg in Cambria County and as much as 6.5 inches in Somerset County. The new snowfall comes with thousands still without power in central and southeastern Pennsylvania following last week's ice storm.

Authorities say that a tour bus driving too fast on a snow-covered road crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania and more than 20 passengers were injured. Western Maryland Health Systems spokeswoman Kathy Rogers says 15 patients were brought there and all but three with minor injuries are expected to be treated and released. UPMC Bedford spokeswoman Susan Manko says 10 patients were treated and released from the hospital.

(MORE: Orion: How Much More Snow Ahead?)


21 year old Ashleigh Nicole Cox, a BYU student from Colorado Springs, Colorado, has died at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo after she was caught in an avalanche on Saturday. Earlier on Saturday, authorities in Avalanche warnings were in effect, and mountain snowfall prompted the closure of canyon highways near Logan and restrictions in the Salt Lake City area. 


In the Seattle area, several inches of new snow brought a flurry of snowman-building, sledding and other winter fun before Monday when the forecast called for rain and milder temperatures into the rest of the week. By Sunday, nearly 3 inches fell at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the heaviest snowfall in a single day at that location in about two years. Parts of southwestern Washington got hammered with as much as 5 inches or more in south Thurston County and some parts of Lewis County. High avalanche danger prompted officials at Mount Rainier National Park to close the gate to Paradise at Longmire on Sunday.

A police official looks around during a snowy day in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

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