WASHINGTON (AP) — The powerful winter storm pummeling much of the U.S. also stymied the U.S. military on Saturday and has forced Washington D.C. to be shut down.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter was heading home from a five-day trip to Paris and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. But his high-tech aircraft – known as the Doomsday Plane – wasn’t able to land at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland as originally planned.
Instead, the plane took a left turn and headed south. Carter was rerouted to Tampa, Florida, where he will wait until he is able to fly into the nation’s capital.
It should be noted that The Washington Post points out that Carter was flying in an aircraft dubbed “The Doomsday Plane.” It is a Boeing E-4B and can weigh up to 800,000 pounds if fully loaded. It “can withstand the effects of a nuclear bomb or asteroid blast while remaining aloft for 12 hours without refueling.”
The head of the District of Columbia’s homeland security agency says it’s too early to say how long snow will shut down the city.
Christopher Geldart, director of the District of Columbia’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, told Fox News that snow is still coming down at a rate of about 2 inches an hour. He says snow could continue until midnight Saturday.
Geldart says plow drivers are trying to hit each of their assigned roadways at least one time during their shift. He says they are making sure first responders can get around but are not yet in the phase where they are trying to clear the roads for drivers.
Gov. Tom Wolf says more than 500 vehicles are stuck in the miles-long backup in western Pennsylvania, but emergency crews have been delivering supplies and officials are working to move people to shelters if needed.
Wolf told reporters Saturday afternoon that each vehicle had been checked at least once, and workers had been delivering food as well as fuel to make sure engines keep running so the heat can stay on.
He says they are working to get shelters in place quickly so people can be moved to them in buses if necessary.
And Wolf said the rest of the commonwealth “is in as good a state as can be expected.” But he warned people to stay off the roads and said another major problem could prompt a closure of highways in the commonwealth.
North Carolina troopers say a sixth person has died in the state as a result of snow and ice that have covered roads in recent days.
The death brings the nationwide total to 12 people killed in a massive snowstorm that has battered the South, mid-Atlantic and East.
State Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Michael Baker said Saturday that a motorist died after losing control of her car and hitting a tree in Hickory. Troopers say 19-year-old Madeline Paige Scalf of High Point was killed in the Friday morning crash.
Authorities say a Kentucky transportation worker has died while plowing snow-covered highways, bringing the total number of deaths from the massive snowstorm hitting the U.S. to at least 11.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says in a statement that Christopher Adams died Saturday in Christian County.
The statement says Adams called a supervisor about 5:50 a.m., saying his snow plow had slid into a ditch along Kentucky Route 115. When the supervisor arrived, Adams was slumped over in his truck seat and unresponsive.
An ambulance was called to the scene. Paramedics called a coroner.
Officials say the 44-year-old Adams had been working since about midnight. His family has been notified, but a cause of death has not been released.
Seven locations near Washington have unofficially passed the 30 inches of snow mark, as of 1 p.m. Saturday.
That’s according to the National Weather Service’s running totals. And 36 places recorded at least two feet of snow.
A trained weather spotter reported 33 inches in Berkeley County, West Virginia. A National Weather Service employee in Frederick, Maryland, and trained spotters in Loudoun County, Virginia, and Jefferson County, West Virginia, all recorded 31 inches of snow.
All Broadway shows — both matinees and evening performances — were canceled Saturday after New York state officials declared a weather emergency.
A ban on travel in New York and the suspension of public transportation forced Broadway producers and theater owners to pull the plug.
Charlotte St. Martin — president of The Broadway League, which represents producers— says: “We expect normal operations to resume for tomorrow’s Sunday matinees.”
The storm didn’t stop the inaugural three-day BroadwayCon — sort of like a Comic Con for thespians — at a midtown hotel.
Further north, a Rita Moreno concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center was canceled.
The last time Broadway took a big weather hit was Superstorm Sandy in 2012. It darkened Broadway for four days and cost more than $8.5 million in lost revenue.
The major snowstorm menacing much of the U.S. continued to deliver on its promises Saturday in the Mid-Atlantic, dumping more than 27 inches of snow by noon in the Maryland suburbs of the nation’s capital.
The highest amount in the unofficial numbers compiled by the National Weather Service was 27.2 inches in Clarksburg, which is in Montgomery County.
Observers in Washington reported a high of 18 inches in the city’s Anacostia neighborhood.
Fifteen inches was reported in Baltimore.
More than 2 feet of snow was reported in Allegany County in western Maryland, Carroll County in central Maryland, in the northern Virginia city of Manassas and in Purcellville in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Bridgit Stoffer from Popular Military contributed to this article.
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