Deadly winter storm winding down in Northeast after causing chaos across Midwest, Great Lakes

The storm has been blamed for the death of a firefighter in Michigan, the partial collapse of a parking garage in Wisconsin and a 15-car pileup in Massachusetts.

A deadly coast-to-coast winter storm that brought blizzard conditions to the Upper Midwest and significant icing across the Great Lakes region began winding down Thursday after knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of utility customers and snarling traffic and air travel across the region.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Lt. Ethan M. Quillen, a volunteer with the Paw Paw Fire Department in Michigan, died Wednesday after responding to reports of trees and wires down due to the ice storm. While there, a portion of a tree broke near the area where he and other first responders were working and fell onto power lines. That caused the power line to collapse and hit Quillen. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A second storm-related death happened Friday morning in Rochester, Minnesota. Officials said a pedestrian died after they were struck by a snowplow. The incident is under investigation.

Outside of Milwaukee, a heavy wet snow was being blamed by firefighters as possibly contributing to a partial collapse of a retail center's parking garage. No one was reported to be injured in the multi-story collapse, but several vehicles were crushed by floors as they gave way. Community leaders said they dodged a bullet because no one was injured during the incident. A combination of 3-4" of sleet and snow was observed in the Glendale, Wisconsin, but the local National Weather Service office did not receive any other reports of structures collapsing due to the weight of the frozen precipitation.

State police in Massachusetts said ice might be to blame for a 15-vehicle pileup on the Massachusetts Turnpike near Brimfield late Thursday night. Officials said multiple tractor-trailers were among the vehicles involved in the chain-reaction crash that injured multiple people.

Power outages and travel impacts

Power outages from the Plains to the Northeast topped more than 1 million customers Thursday, as the combination of ice and wind proved to be challenging for trees and power lines. Utility companies in the hard-hit states said outages could last for an extended period due to difficulties in reaching areas with ice and heavy snow. 


Current power outages in the U.S.
(FOX Weather)


Since Wednesday, more than 2,000 flights were canceled with Minneapolis, Denver, Detroit and Chicago at the top of the big board for travel impacts.

Officials at the Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport said hundreds of flights had been canceled there alone and operations crews worked around the clock to keep runways and taxiways clear.

Major airlines, such as Delta and United, offered travel waivers for anyone wishing to reschedule flights.

Current air travel statistics from
(FOX Weather)


Impacts linger for Northeast, New England

The storm system is slowly exiting the U.S. but occasional rounds of light snow and even freezing rain will be possible into early Friday for New England and northern New York.

Winter Weather Advisories remain in effect through the morning across portions of northwestern New York, including Watertown, Rochester and Buffalo.

A three-hour radar loop shows where the winter storm is currently dumping snow, sleet and freezing rain across the U.S.
(FOX Weather)


Winter Weather Advisories are also in effect for portions of northeastern Connecticut, most of central and eastern Massachusetts, including Boston, and northern Rhode Island, including Providence.

The heaviest snow from what has yet to fall is expected to impact northern New England. Northern areas of Vermont, New Hampshire and most of Maine can expect to see a few more inches of snow.

Ice can also be an issue for communities in higher elevations, such as The Berkshires in Massachusetts. Drivers there are being urged to take it slow on the roads as conditions could become treacherous.

Possible snow totals through Friday in the Northeast and New England.
(FOX Weather)