Storm Leaves Trail of Snow, Ice, Power Outages, Freezing Temperatures

Storm of "historic proportions" sends influx of people to Northeast hospitals.

ByABC News
February 2, 2011, 3:43 AM

Feb. 2, 2011— -- A winter storm left a 2,000-mile-long trail of snow and ice from the Midwest to the Northeast and two thirds of the nation facing downed power lines, shuttered highways and thousands of airport cancellations.

Several deaths have been blamed on the storm labeled a "winter storm of historic proportions" by the National Weather Service.

Sandra Joslin, 50, of Wichita, Kan., died when her car got stuck on a set of train tracks in the snow, ABC affiliate KAKE reported.

Joslin was on her way to work at 5:30 a.m. this morning when she got stuck. She was thrown out of her car when the train hit the vehicle.

A man in Detroit died in a traffic accident caused by icy roads, the Detroit News reported.

In New York, a homeless man burned to death when he tried to light cans of cooking fuel to stay warm.

The storm that pounded the Midwest moved east today. Hospitals in the Northeast were seeing spikes in emergency room visits from people slipping and sliding on treacherous ice.

Emergency rooms were seeing a spike in ankle, wrist and head injuries, doctors said.

"It's completely out of the ordinary and record breaking," said Dr. Stephan Lynn of St. Luke's Hospital in New York City. "The streets are treacherous and just crossing the corner is a major procedural problem."

Freezing rain was expected to dump three quarters of an inch of ice on New York City this afternoon. Spots in northern New York have already gotten more than a foot of snow.

In Connecticut, where residents were coping with significant ice accumulation, doctors said the string of winter storms this season has sent an influx of people to hospitals.

"We had people coming in due to heart attacks and severe injuries from snow-blowers," said Dr. AJ Smally of Hartford Hospital.

In Middletown, Conn., the roof of a building housing several shops collapsed, the Hartford Courant reported. No one was injured. Two workers heard a cracking noise and ran.

"It's like a bomb scene," acting Fire Marshal Al Santostefano told the Associated Press. "Thank God they left the building when they did."

That was one of several roofs in the region to collapse.

In Boston, several planes were damaged when a roof caved at the Norwood Memorial Airport, ABC Affiliate WCVB reported. The freezing rain and snow was piling on top of the mounds of snow from past storms.

Boston was expected to receive 3 to 6 inches of snow today, which would mean approximately 70 inches of snow accumulation this season.

The wet, heavy snow could cause power outages and more roof collapses in the suburban Boston area and other parts of Massachusetts.

Click here to see images from this winter's harshest storms.