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

Eds: UPDATES with Pennsylvania closings and postponements, Ind. highway reopened, Ky. road problems.

AP Photo KYLOC101


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, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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. A section of the Western Kentucky Parkway was reopened after being closed during the night by trees that fell under the weight of ice, state police said.

In Kentucky's extreme western tip, police said several Fulton County roads were closed by rising water.

Indiana State Police closed a five-mile stretch of icy southbound Interstate 65 south of Indianapolis for part of the morning because of wrecks, 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.

Tuesday's high school basketball playoffs for western Pennsylvania were postponed because of 5 to 8 inches of snow forecast for the region.