In case you missed it: Deadly storms cause travel chaos across US; New Mexico avalanche kills skier

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather staff writer
January 18, 2019, 9:49:02 AM EST

A deadly winter storm took over the central United States and mid-Atlantic over the weekend, killing at least nine people in the process.

The winter storm began to unfold over the region on Friday afternoon with heavy snow and freezing rain across Missouri and Kansas. Some motorists became stranded on the snow-covered roads for hours.

All nine fatalities were due to vehicle accidents. One of the victims was an Illinois State Trooper, Christopher Lambert, who was struck by a car while responding to a three-vehicle crash.

Up to 20 inches of snow fell in some parts of Missouri. The storm progressed toward the East coast, pounding Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas with more than 10 inches of snow.

@aaronjayjack static snow DC image 1/13

A snowy scene captured by Aaron Jayjack reporting for AccuWeather in Washington, D.C. on the morning of Jan. 13, 2019. Via twitter/@aaronjayjack

Virginia State Police said they responded to more than 230 traffic crashes and assisted more than 100 disabled vehicles in Virginia from midnight to noon Sunday. Nearly 900 crashes were reported in Missouri on Saturday, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

On the other side of the country, a massive storm overtook parts of California late this week.

Rain, snow and mudslides wreaked havoc, prompting evacuations and triggering road closures and accidents around the Malibu area.

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Motorists were left stranded on snow-covered Interstate 5, which was also closed due to mudslides earlier in the week. Burn scars from 2018's intense wildfires made conditions worse. At least six people have died across the state.

In Northern California, rain and strong winds led to the death of a homeless man in San Francisco who was hit by a falling tree, according to The Mercury News.

Heavy snow led to numerous accidents and spinouts in the Sierra Nevada. Three people were killed during a spinout amid rain in Placerville, California, east of San Francisco. One of the victims was an infant, officials said.

Pacific storm tree damage LA (AP)

Department of Water and Power employees work in the pouring rain to clear a fallen tree from a road in the Hollywood hills in Los Angeles, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. The latest in a series of Pacific Ocean storms pounded California with rain and snow Thursday, prompting officials to put communities on alert for mudslides and flooding and making travel treacherous. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Winds gusted up to 164 mph at the summit of Mammoth Mountain, California, on Thursday morning, according to AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer. Winds this strong are comparable to that found in a major hurricane.

A skier was killed and another is in critical condition after being caught up in an avalanche at a New Mexico ski resort this week.

The two skiers were the only ones hit by the avalanche, which struck on Thursday morning, according to Reuters, citing local officials.

They were on a slope at Taos Ski Valley, known for its challenging terrain. Dozens of rescuers searched for the two skiers, including former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.

The resort had triggered intentional avalanches on Thursday, attempting to reduce the risk of avalanches.

Snow continued to slam parts of central and eastern Europe this week.

More than two dozen people have been killed since the start of the year as massive amounts of snow have hit Austria, Poland and other regions.

Tens of thousands of people have been unable to leave their homes or are trapped in ski resorts in the Salzburg region due to avalanches and the colossal snowfall, according to the Telegraph.

In the United Kingdom, the first snow of the year fell this week in some areas.

A wave of cold air set the stage for the snow, which fell along the eastern coast of England and Scotland.

A heat wave has gripped New South Wales in Australia for much of this week, coinciding with the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Temperatures hit near the 100-degree F mark (38 C) earlier this week.

Health officials have urged people to stay indoors and minimize physical activity during the heat wave, according to ABC News.

Join host Regina Miller as she examines Forensic Meteorology and the reconstruction of weather events for legal testimonies. Steve Wistar, AccuWeather’s Forensic Meteorologist and Certified Consulting Meteorologist recalls prominent legal cases where winter weather played a key role in the verdicts.

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