Snowstorms across USA shadow Christmas holidays for thousands

Eleven people have been killed in fierce snowstorms in the northeastern and central USA. Thousands of homes and enterprises have been blacked out. All the victims died as a result of car accidents that took place because of weather conditions. At least three were killed in Minnesota, three others died in Wyoming, the rest were killed in Texas, Kansas and Wisconsin.

About 50 vehicles, including several trucks, collided in Texas during a heavy snowfall. At least 16 were hospitalized with severe injuries. Many of those who found themselves in the middle of the traffic accidents were driving for Christmas holidays with their families.

The blanket of snow already reaches 30 centimeters in Wisconsin. It is expected to double during the forthcoming several days.

Blackouts left about 11,000 homes without electricity in Wisconsin. The power was cut in as many as 114,000 homes in Michigan.

The storm is heading north across the Great Lakes. "Everything is just an ice rink out there," said Sgt. Steve Selby with the sheriff's department in Rock County, Wisconsin.

More than 300 flights were canceled Sunday at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the AP reports.

Highways were hazardous for holiday travelers Sunday and thousands of homes and businesses had no electricity in the Midwest as a storm blustered through the region with heavy snow and howling wind.

The storm rolled through Colorado and Wyoming on Friday, then spread snow and ice on Saturday from the Texas Panhandle to Minnesota. Multi-car pileups closed parts of several major highways Saturday in the Plains states.

The area of Madison, Wis., got three to four hours of freezing rain early Sunday, said weather service meteorologist intern Bill Borghoff at Sullivan. The combination of icy pavement and gusty wind made driving treacherous, he said.

Photo AP

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