Major pileups on Michigan, Ohio roads as snow, cold blows through Midwest

Saturday, February 3rd 2007, 7:33 pm
By: News On 6

DETROIT (AP) _ Bitterly cold winter weather gripped the Midwest on Saturday, and whiteout conditions were blamed for traffic pileups in Michigan and Ohio.

Blizzard warnings were in effect for parts of Michigan, and temperatures reached as low as 17 below zero in the Upper Peninsula. Winds gusting to 40 mph threatened to drive wind chill readings to as low as 30 degrees below zero, the National Weather Service said.

In Ohio, the winter blast was blamed for at least two deaths when whiteout conditions on a freeway caused accidents involving 21 vehicles. The two died when their car was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer, the State Highway Patrol said. Several people were injured.

In eastern Michigan, a pileup of 20 vehicles forced a highway to close for several hours in Genesee County. In the western portion of the state, 50 vehicles crashed on U.S. 131. No fatalities were reported, but police asked people to avoid driving if possible.