Bob Etherton got a call early this morning from his dispatcher telling him to stay home because the Joplin, Mo., area is getting heavy snow with more on the way as a doozie of a winter storm continues to sweep
across the country.
"I was happy to take that call," he says. "In 28 years this is the second time I"ve been told to stay home because of the weather. I've been out there when someone should have made the decision not to run."
The storm that started out by paralyzing the Midwest Monday has moved south, with bad weather as far south as Texas.
"People are slipping and sliding," Janell Jones, a truckstop cashier in Mesquite, Texas, told the Associated Press. "There are some truckers that are stranded, but most are smart enough to park the things."
Freezing rain and snow has already caused hundreds of wrecks across the Southern Plains today, with at least one Texas traffic death blamed on the storm. Several inches of snow made Oklahoma highways treacherous. A mixture of rain, sleet and snow has affected all but the southern tip of Texas. The winter weather spread through Oklahoma in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and the lower Ohio valley. St. Louis, Mo., had 10 inches of snow by midmorning.
At Sto's Stop in Mount Vernon, Mo., cashier Jeanie Sutton said truck drivers were
piling in to escape the weather.
"The snow is beautiful. It finally looks like Christmas out there," Sutton told the Associated Press. "But this is nothing theses truckers want to be driving in."
Further north, Midwesterners are digging out of the storm that pummeled much of the area Monday and Tuesday. The storm that hit Chic began dropping snow in southeastern Wisconsin yesterday, continuing to fall throughout the day, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Television station WTMJ-TV said some areas along the Wisconsin-Illinois border would see a foot of snow before the storm moved to the east. Dozens of accidents were reported throughout the area, but few of the accidents led to serious injuries.
Meanwhile, wind gusts of up to 60 mph caused truck accidents and bridge closings throughout New York yesterday.
According to the Associated Press, the Bayonne Bridge, which links Staten Island with Bayonne, N.J., was shut down in the morning after a big rig on the southside blew into the northbound lanes and tipped over. As a precaution, the bridge remained closed after the truck was cleared.
Trucks tipped over on both sides of the Throgs Neck Bridge and one driver was injured. The southbound side was reopened by midday.
Maximum speed on the Verrazano and Whitestone bridges was lowered to 20 mph and the Marine Bay Bridge to the Rockaways was closed down as a precaution, AP reported.