New England slammed with snow, outages
People across northern New England woke up to a foot of heavy, wet snow in parts of the region Saturday and conducted weekend business as more fell throughout the day.
The storm caused power outages and numerous highway accidents. By midafternoon, the number of electric customers without power across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine had dropped to about 2,200 from overnight totals that reached into the tens of thousands. The winter storm warning for Vermont and New Hampshire expired, but remained in place for parts of Maine until 8 p.m.
Meteorologist Eric Schwibs of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said that while it’s disheartening to see snow so late in the season, it’s not unusual. Winter had already brought more snow than normal to northern New England. Portland, Maine, recorded 84.4 inches of snow, two feet above normal for the city; Concord, N.H., had 73.8 inches, about 15 inches above normal.
Snow-related crashes were reported on the Maine Turnpike, and in New Hampshire, a loaded tractor-trailer rolled over on Interstate 95 in Hampton, blocking three lanes. The 34-year-old driver was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
— Associated Press
Highway collapse fire: three people charged
Three people have been charged in connection to a Thursday fire that resulted in the collapse of an elevated span of Interstate 85, a major city thoroughfare that connects five states.
Basil Eleby is charged with first-degree arson and first-degree criminal damage to property, a felony. His bail had been set at $200,000. Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas were charged with criminal trespass, and investigators said more charges could be pending.
The three had gathered under the bridge to smoke crack, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Eleby, 39, made his appearance before a judge Saturday morning. Eleby told investigators that he regularly passes through the area on the way to his job at a nearby tire shop, according to the affidavit. Although Eleby denied setting the fire, Thomas said he watched Eleby place a chair on top of a shopping cart near the fiber-optic wire and ignite the piece of furniture. Then they scattered.
The fire was “maliciously set,” Sgt. Cortez Stafford, a spokesman for the Atlanta Fire Department, said. No one was injured in the incident, in part because officials had stopped traffic on the highway, Stafford said. The fire damaged 700 feet of highway, officials said.
— Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
Oregon raises payout for recycling: Oregon’s recycling program has doubled to 10 cents its payout for used soda cans and glass bottles. The state was the first in the nation to give 5-cent refunds for cans and bottles more than 45 years ago. Naysayers, meanwhile, say it’s bad policy that private-sector industry pockets the unredeemed refunds — about $30 million in 2015 — during a budget crisis in Oregon.
Planes collide, killing two in Florida: Two people died after their single-engine airplanes collided midair Saturday morning over the central Florida coast, authorities said. The planes crashed into a wooded area west of Interstate 95 near Edgewater, killing both pilots, fire officials said.
Carbon monoxide leak kills child near Mich. hotel pool: One child was killed and more than a dozen other people were injured in southwest Michigan on Saturday after a carbon monoxide leak in the indoor pool of a hotel in Niles. The leak was discovered Saturday morning at the Quality Inn & Suites after staff members glanced through the window of the hotel’s indoor pool and saw several children lying unconscious on the deck, according to a local report.
— Staff and news services