This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.
The first half of December 2016, was an unlucky one on the roads of Pennsylvania, with a succession of pileups that left major highways strewn with wrecked cars and mangled metal.
The first, on December 8th, 2016, saw at least 15 people injured in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 90 in the northwestern part of the state, apparently due to lake-effect snow. At least five tractor-trailers and several cars were involved, and it took hours to clear the wreckage, forcing several people to take shelter in a school bus at the scene.
The eastbound lanes were finally reopened about midnight, but the westbound lanes weren't cleared until mid-morning the following day.
The chaos wasn't limited to Pennsylvania. Elsewhere on the I-90 that day, in Ohio, similarly snowy conditions led to a pileup of more than 50 cars, including a Greyhound bus, shutting down the highway for more than 14 hours. A pileup in Michigan the same day left three people dead.
One week later, on December 15th, yet another massive wreck happened in western Pennsylvania, this time on the I-80. This time, three people were hurt in the pileup, which involved 59 vehicles altogether – 22 tractor-trailers and 37 cars.
As with the earlier wreck, it wasn't the only one. In fact, a total of three such collisions shut down different stretches of the I-80 that day, once again blamed on bands of lake-effect snow. Upstate New York also experiencing collisions, one involving a tractor-trailer and a snowplow. In all, a damaging few days in the leadup to the "official" start of winter that year.
Thumbnail courtesy of Lake County Sheriff's Office via Storyful