Worst Snow Storm In 25 Years Traps 300 Motorists in Ontario

Added: 15. Dezember 2010

Snow storm in Sarnia Ontario, Canada on the 402, video taken from inside/outside of a car, worst storm in the past 25 years.

* Storm that paralysed Midwest moves north into Canada
* Eight people killed in traffic accidents as bone-chilling temperatures grip much of America
* Five men lose their lives shovelling snow as 2 feet falls in just 24 hours
* But southern California bathes in balmy temperatures

‘Despair’: A truck is stranded on the Highway 402 near Sarnia, Ontario today. Up to 360 vehicles were trapped at one point

The Canadian military is racing to rescue more than 300 motorists who are trapped on a highway in the worst storm to hit Ontario in 25 years.

Some people were trapped for nearly 24 hours with snow piled up so high they could not open the doors of their cars on Highway 402 outside the town of Sarnia.

The military has mobilised a CC-130 Hercules airplane, two Griffons helicopters and an array of snowmobiles and four-wheel drive SUVs for the rescue effort.

They have reached some motorists just in the nick of time.

‘You really felt almost despair,’ Brandon Junkin, who had run out of gas and was trapped in his truck for nearly 24 hours with just a blanket to ward off the sub-zero temperatures, told CNN.

He was rescued when he heard a military helicopter hovering over him.

Video taken by another trucker and posted on YouTube shows a barren, Arctic-like landscape, with powdery snow being blown by the wind and the vague shapes of other vehicles buried in white.

Other truckers are inviting car drivers to shelter with them in their rigs, and neighbours living near the stretch of highway have opened their homes to motorists.

The Ontario Provincial Police said initially that 360 vehicles were trapped on the 402, which connects the U.S. border with London, Ontario.

Some have since been rescued but Sarnia officials admitted it could be up to 24 hours more before everyone is safe.

Meanwhile more than 100 motorists in Indiana were rescued from their cars in biting temperatures as snowstorms were blamed for at least 15 deaths in the U.S.

LaPorte County sheriff’s Deputy Andy Hynek said officials did not know exactly how many people were stranded, but some had been stuck for as long as 12 hours.

The heavy snow in the Midwest state was part of a slow-moving storm that has been crawling across the central U.S. since Friday night.

The storm dumped nearly 2 feet of snow before it stretched further east, with snow in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

The upper Midwest has been gripped by bone-chilling cold as Arctic air swept in behind the storm.

At least 15 deaths in four states have been attributed to the storm.

Eight people died in traffic accidents, and a 79-year-old man clearing the end of his driveway in western Wisconsin was killed when a plough truck backed into him.

Four men in Michigan and one in Minnesota died after shovelling or blowing snow, and Kenneth Swanson, 58, of rural Wisconsin, died when a metal shed collapsed from the heavy snow, pinning him under debris and about 3ft of snow.

The -11c temperature didn’t stop hundreds of football fans from lining up hours before free tickets to Monday night’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants became available at 9am local time at Ford Field.

The game was moved to Detroit after the Minneapolis Metrodome’s inflated roof collapsed on Sunday under the weight of heavy snow.

Indiana was hardest hit, with up to 16in of ‘lake effect’ snow in some areas.

Lake effect snow develops when cold air rushes over the warmer water in the Great Lakes.

More than 100 vehicles were trapped by snow drifts on a section of highway in the Valparaiso area.

Police said they were found warm and safe in their vehicles.

Crews were using front-end loaders to remove drifts on US 30, where other drivers were trapped overnight, state highway department spokesman Jim Pinkerton said.

Sections of two highways were closed, and with winds of up to 30mph, LaPorte and Porter counties issued emergency orders telling drivers to stay off county roads as well.

‘As soon as the ploughs go through an area, the wind is blowing fresh snow right back into the roads,’ Mr Pinkerton said.

‘It is just really difficult for us to keep up against that wind and snow.’

By Daily Mail Reporter
Created 9:26 AM on 14th December 2010

Source: The Daily Mail

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