Six people killed in accidents as snow hits Illinois, Nebraska

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 09, 2011 1:08 PM
Six people killed in accidents as snow hits Illinois, Nebraska

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Six people died in crashes as fresh snow coated highways in the Chicago area and Nebraska, officials said on Friday.

Two people died in separate accidents on I-80 southwest of Chicago as the area got its first measurable snowfall Friday morning, according to Illinois State Police.

A third person died on the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago, though it has not yet been determined if that crash was weather-related.

In central Nebraska, three people were killed in two separate crashes as wintry weather pushed across the state Thursday, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.

Illinois police said that besides the fatal crashes they have seen spinout accidents requiring assistance "absolutely everywhere" in the Chicago area.

"It always seems that way that the first couple snows or icings tend to end in a lot of calls for service," said Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Dave Keltner.

"People are driving too fast," said Amy Seeley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chicago. A half inch of snow was reported at O'Hare International Airport, Seeley said.

This is late for a first snow in Chicago -- though it did not beat the area's record for a late snowfall of December 16.

Lake-effect snow is expected to move through the Great Lakes region Friday, with snow showers expected from western Pennsylvania through northern Maine, according to Accumulations of up to four inches are possible along the lake shore from Cleveland eastward.

(Editing by Jerry Norton)