Record snowfall buries parts of Midwest, hampers holiday travel
December 23, 2004
A sloppy storm dumped more than a year’s worth of snow on parts of the Midwest and made a mess of holiday travel and last-minute Christmas shopping Thursday. More than a dozen traffic deaths were blamed on the storm.
The heavy snowfall and icy roads stranded motorists, delayed flights ahead of a holiday weekend in which a record 62 million were expected to travel and threw gift package deliveries into disarray for the nation’s three largest package shippers.
National Guardsmen rescued more than 100 motorists who had been stranded overnight along a snowy 25-mile stretch of Interstate 64 in southwestern Indiana, and were looking for more people stuck.
“I was scared, wondering about the kids. How was I going to feed them?” said Mary Craddock, a 28-year-old waitress from Hartford, Ky., who was stranded on the interstate in Evansville, Ind.
Her car was out of gas, and she and her two children had finished their only food – a bag of potato chips – as they waited it out. Temperatures in Evansville dipped into the teens and Wednesday’s snowfall of 19.3 inches topped the city’s average total winter snowfall of 14.2 inches.
In Kentucky, dozens of travelers were stranded overnight along Interstates 71 and 24. Paducah, Ky., received 14 inches of snow, topping the yearly average of 10 inches and doubling its previous one-day record. In some parts of south-central Kentucky, the ice was 2 to 4 inches thick.