Snow and ice blankets Ohio Valley, closing schools and making roads hazardous

By WILL GRAVES

Associated Press Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Snow and ice spread across wide sections of the Ohio Valley on Tuesday, closing schools, littering roads with cars that had spun out and canceling an appearance by first lady Laura Bush.

Freezing rain created a layer of ice on top of 4 inches of newly fallen snow in Kentucky, and up to 6 inches of snow and ice fell during the night in southern Illinois.

The weather system was moving along a line stretching to the northeast, and the National Weather Service posted winter storm warnings along a band from western Tennessee into New England.

Schools were closed Tuesday in parts of Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia.

The National Park Service canceled a 199th birthday event at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville because of the treacherous driving conditions.

First Lady Laura Bush canceled a planned trip to central Kentucky to attend the Lincoln event and to visit a school damaged by last week's severe storms, said Bush spokeswoman Sally McDonough.

Highways near Louisville were improving Tuesday morning after a night in which dozens of cars were abandoned on freeways surrounding the city.

Indiana State Police closed a five-mile stretch of icy southbound Interstate 65 south of Indianapolis during the morning after more a dozen wrecks in just one hour, and Illinois police reported dozens of accidents.

Utilities in Kentucky reported more than 16,000 homes and businesses had been blacked out by the weather.