Storm system dumps heavy, sleet on Indiana and Michigan

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INDIANAPOLIS — Heavy, sleet — part of a storm system that spawned tornadoes in the Houston area — blanketed roads, vehicles, homes and buildings from central and northern Indiana to much of southeastern Michigan on Wednesday.

About six inches of snow were expected to fall in the Detroit area, while four inches of snow were reported before noon in eastern Indiana, just southwest of Fort Wayne, Maddi Johnson of the National Weather Service said in a statement. northern Indiana.

Wednesday’s storm was expected to bring damaging winds to parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, forecasters said. Winter weather advisories stretched from southern Missouri to Maine, with areas of New England expected to see 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) of snow, the National Weather Service said.

Fort Wayne, Indiana has seen numerous accidents due to the snowfall on its roads.

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“People are sliding off exit ramps on the highways,” Johnson added. “They’re just driving too fast for the conditions.”

Just north of Indianapolis, some power outages were reported in Hamilton County as sleet built up on power lines, said meteorologist Gregory Melo of the Indianapolis weather service’s office.

Indianapolis had recorded 2.8 inches at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, and while the snow was still falling, it was expected to end by early afternoon. Total snowfall would range from 5 to 8 inches in northern and northeast Indianapolis by mid to late afternoon.

“This is one of the first major snowfalls we’ve had,” said Scott Cabauatan, deputy director of public services in Wayne County, which includes Detroit. “This snowfall is a concern due to the fact that it’s wet, heavy snow versus lighter snow.”

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Cabauatan said crews will clear roughly 5,000 lane miles of roadway on a normal pass. “We will have about 100 units and operators working at any given time to grit roads and remove snow and ice,” he added.

Snow is also expected late into the week and into the weekend. “We expect many days at the end of work here and in the trucks,” Cabauatan said.

Schools and businesses remained closed Wednesday in parts of Oklahoma, where central and eastern parts of the state received a total of between 1 and 6 inches (3 and 15 centimeters) of snow. More than 160,000 homes and businesses were without power in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri Wednesday morning after heavy snow fell in the Ozarks the day before.

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On Tuesday, forecasters issued a rare tornado emergency for the Houston area as the storm system moved through the densely populated area. Significant damage was reported in towns east of Houston, but no injuries were reported.

In Louisiana, three people suffered “minor to moderate injuries” when their mobile home was flipped or destroyed after a tornado hit the Morel Lane area north of Baton Rouge, the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

In Texas, several businesses in Pasadena, east of Houston, suffered extensive damage, including the city’s animal shelter.

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Family resident reported from Wayne, Michigan. The Bharat Express News writers Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, David Phillip in Pasadena, Texas, and Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.

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