It's already a holiday for government workers, but others are being urged to stay home if they can after the latest round of winter weather.
An update on travel conditions, straight ahead.
And, more than 20 people were trampled to death last night, as they tried to escape a Chicago nightclub.
The major ice and sleet storm continues to pull away from the region leaving a sloppy mess in its wake. I'll have the latest coming up.
News 7 at Noon starts right now...
A slippery blanket of snow and ice is still causing treacherous travel conditions across the region.
[TAPE#=02-51 TC 1:51:52]
From messy roads to record school closings.
Yesterday's storm has definitely left its mark.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Myranda & Kimberly/Microwave;]
New River Valley Bureau Chief Myranda Stephens joins us now with the latest in that area.
Kimberly, we do have some updates on road conditions.
V-Dot is reporting that Route-602 that was closed yesterday in Pulaski County, is now back open.
And Interstate-77 is now in MINOR condition in Carroll and Wythe Counties.
As for the rest of the roads and highways, officials say the picture is pretty much the same.
((ROLLCUE:...PRETTY MUCH THE SAME))
[****MYRANDA'S MIC HOT****]
Interstate-81 is still covered with snow and ice...which apparently was a factor in this tractor-trailer accident.
It happened around nine this morning just before Exit-105.
State police say this car was traveling northbound, when it hit a patch of ice and slid into this tractor-trailer.
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[IN Q=THE TRACTOR-TRAILER]
((B.A. SAUBERT/STATE POLICE: THE TRACTOR-TRAILER HIT THE BRIDGE AND THE OTHER GENTLEMEN DRIVING THIS CAMRY HE HIT IT'S A REAL MESS. REPORTER: LUCKILY NO WAS HURT. TROOPER: RIGHT NO ONE WAS HURT. 3:56))
[SUPER=01-B. A. Saubert/Virginia State Police;]
[OUT Q=NO ONE WAS HURT]
[****MYRANDA'S MIC HOT****]
The icy-roads forced Virginia Tech to cancel all of its classes today, for the first time in a long time.
University officials have said before the theory is if Blacksburg Transit shuts-down, then so will the university.
Blacksburg Transit did just that yesterday, but today the buses were back up and running on a reduced schedule.
But, in a nutshell...
V-Dot says its trucks are beginning to make some headway in clearing the primary roads.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Myranda & Leo /Microwave;]
But, most of the secondary roads still haven't been touched, and it may be awhile before they are, so folks will need to be patient...Leo?
(Myranda toss to Leo)
((MYRANDA TOSS TO LEO))
[SS=NONE]LEO in WX-CENTER
(LEO adlib TOSS to Rachel)
[TAPE#=02-50 TC 1:23:16]
(Leo ad-lib toss to Rachel on Patio)
[DOUBLE BOXES=Leo /Rachel Patio;]
Leo, as people make their way outside to shovel their driveways or scrape their cars they will be greeted by the ice you were talking about.
V-DOT is asking people to stay off the roads or use caution when driving.
Just about two hours ago, the weather led to a tractor trailer accident in Botetourt County.
The rig was heading North outside of Troutville on Interstate-81 when it lost control.
All northbound lanes were closed for a short time but the accident has since been cleared and all lanes are open.
Another note in Botetourt County, V-DOT's website classifies Route 43 as severe condition.
Otherwise, V-DOT officials report major roads as moderate, meaning pavement is mostly covered with snow or sleet.
If you do head out today, the mall is usually a popular spot on snow days but even they're making some changes due to weather.
Even with President's Day Sales, Valley View Mall will close early at five p-m today while the River Ridge and New River Valley Malls got a late start, just opening their doors minutes ago.
If you are planning on traveling by air today, the Roanoke Regional Airport is open, but officials say you can expect delays and cancellations.
That's especially the case if your flight is headed North, where the storm is pounding the region with major snow accumulation...
It will be a while before both flying and driving gets back to normal.
It will certainly be some time before crews really tackle secondary, side streets.
[TAKE FS VDOT BOARD 4491ESSC]
[TAKE FS WDBJ WEB ADDRESS 4178ESSC]
If you want to get a report on roads in your area you can call V-DOT's automated system at 1-800-367-ROAD and to
[DOUBLE BOXES=Kim/Rachel Patio;]
stay current on closings in our area, you can check out our website at wdbj7.com where the information is constantly being updated, Kim?
The winter storm has prompted Governor Mark Warner to declare a state of emergency.
He issued the declaration to authorize and hasten state help for localities hit by the bad weather.
Warner's office says the Department of Emergency Management has activated its Emergency Operations Center, and other state agencies are ``on standby to respond as emergencies arise.''
It's now the northeast's turn, as the storm prepares to take a bite out of the Big Apple.
New York City is expecting at least a foot of snow, while nearly two feet are on the ground in Washington D-C.
Jennifer Miller has more.
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[SUPER=03-New York, NY;]
[SUPER=01-James McGreevy/New Jersey Governor;]
[SUPER=01-Jennifer Miller/CBS News;]
[OUT Q=Miller, CBS news, New York, NY.]
YOU KNOW ITS A MAJOR STORM WHEN...THE WEATHER WATCHERS START MEASURING
THE SNOWFALL BY THE FOOT. ABOUT 2 FEET ALREADY ON THE GROUND IN
WASHINGTON, D.C. AND BALTIMORE. MORE THAN A FOOT IN PHILADELPHIA... AND
NEW YORK CITY IS GETTING SOCKED TODAY. THE BIG APPLE IS EXPECTING AT
LEAST A FOOT AND MAYBE MORE.
SO FAR, AT LEAST A DOZEN DEATHS HAVE BEEN BLAMED ON THIS MASSIVE, SLOW
MOVING STORM, MOSTLY ON THE ROADS. IN NEW JERSEY, THE GOVERNOR IS
URGING DRIVERS TO STAY TO STAY OFF THE ROADS.
SOT: JAMES MCGREEVY, NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR
"WE DECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY, WE ARE ASKING PEOPLE TO STAY HOME
WITH THEIR FAMILIES.
(NATZ CAR SPINNING)
MOST AIRPORTS ARE CLOSED...LEAVING TRAVELERS WITH NOTHING TO DO BUT WAIT.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT MANY WORKERS AND STUDENTS WERE ALREADY OFF FOR
PRESIDENT'S DAY. IN MANHATTAN, PEOPLE ARE GETTING AROUND...BUT THERE'S
A LOT OF SLIPPING AND SLIDING IN THE PROCESS.
(LOCATOR: WASHINGTON, DC)
IN OUR NATION'S CAPITAL...THE CLEANUP HAS ALREADY BEGUN. IN THIS CASE,
ONE PERSON'S PROGRESS IS ANOTHER PERSON'S NIGHTMARE.
In other news,
An evening out at a Chicago nightclub turned into a nightmare for hundreds of patrons.
More than 15- hundred people were inside the Epitome Night Club when somebody sprayed mace or pepper spray.
Authorities believe that the spray got into the ventilation system.
21- people were trampled to death while trying to get out of the building.
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[IN Q=There were so many]
((THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE, AND WE WERE STANDING SO CLOSE TOGETHER I WAS BEING CRUSHED. BY PEOPLE-- I DIDN'T EVEN FALL.))
((I WAS PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS THEN EVERYONE STARTED PILING DOWN ON MY LEG AND I COULDN'T MOVE MY LEGS AT ALL.))
[OUT Q=legs at all. ]
There was only one stairway for people to get from the top floor to ground level.
One witness described it as a situation like the Titanic.
Code Orange may fade in the near future.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says the nation's high terror alert level will probably be lowered fairly soon.
However, Ridge is also defending the Bush administration's decision to raise the threat level in the first place, even though some of the information that led to that decision turned out to be fabricated.
He says there's no rhyme or reason to terror attacks -- making
them hard to prevent..
The mood is more upbeat in Iraq today after anti- war demonstrators made their voices heard over the weekend, and the U-S took a beating at the United Nations on Friday.
Kimberly Dozier reports from Baghdad.
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[SUPER=01-Kimberly Dozier/CBS News;]
[OUT Q=in Baghdad, I'm Kimberly Dozier.]
Anti-war demonstrations provide welcome and RARE good
news here its on the front page of every newspaper,
and its made Iraqis feel a little less alone.
The UNs Hans Blix is giving Iraq another two weeks
before his next report.
Iraq is trying to prove that IS cooperating.
Its allowing the United Nations to start U2
overflights, and today, the Iraqi military made four
Al Samoud II missiles available for further UN
These are the missiles that the UNs Hans Blix says
fly beyond the acceptable range.
Washington says they are proof of Iraqs defiance.
Iraqi officials are meanwhile, are enjoying the
DEFIANT drubbing Washington got at Nato, where Germany
and France had blocked a US plan to protect Turkey
from Iraq. The measure has finally passed, but only
after several days of embarrassing haggling.
Iraqi officials still believe, however, that neither
cooperation nor DEMONSTRATION can keep the Americans
from attacking so war preparations in the capital
In Baghdad, Im Kimberly Dozier.
Riding in double- decker buses, dozens of peace activists have arrived in Baghdad from London.
They're hoping to serve as "human shields" against the possible war on Iraq.
Two of the bright red buses left London in late January, picking up supporters along the way.
By gathering in Baghdad, the demonstrators believe they can help prevent a war.
Few however say they are ready to actually lay down their lives.
More than four million anti- war protesters all over the world took to the streets over the weekend.
Officials say it's the biggest wave of demonstrations since the Vietnam War.
Two children are missing and feared dead in Tennessee, after raging waters swept the car they were riding in off the road.
Authorities say a woman and her niece and nephew, ages seven and 10, were traveling to Alabama last night when the accident happened.
Nearby residents say they called 9-1-1 when they heard the woman screaming.
A search team found her clinging to a tree, suffering from hypothermia.
Authorities say the stretch of road where the accident happened was
posted as 'closed' because of high waters.
They're NOT sure if the woman didn't see the sign, or simply ignored it.
All Virginia DMV offices may soon be back in business on Wednesdays.
House and Senate budget negotiators have tentatively agreed on a plan to restore operating hours.
[VO-NAT 02-39 1:20:32]
Governor Warner ordered the midweek closings in October.
The House and Senate plans already call for reopening 12 D-M-V service centers the governor also closed in his budget cuts last fall.
Talks between House and Senate conference committee members began on schedule yesterday, despite heavy snow and sleet that made roads treacherous.
An aging house in Lexington is getting ready to get some MAJOR support.
[VO-NAT - :15+]
The Lexington Historic Foundation recently bought the Roberson-Phalen House on Jefferson Street.
Now the house will need to be jacked up, and have major work done on the foundation.
The historic group hopes to restore the house, which is one of the city's oldest, and turn it into office space.
In business news, Wall Street is closed in observance of the Presidents' Day holiday.[S-Weather]
The big winter storm that's pummeling the northeastern states is causing sports cancellations left and right.
Among the more notable .. the Washington Wizards game against Toronto.
Michael Jordan was scheduled to play on his 40th birthday, but that game has been re-scheduled for early March.
Michael Waltrip waited a long time to win his first NASCAR Winston cup race, at the Daytona 500 two years ago.
Now he's won three times at the track.
[SUPER=03-Daytona, FL/Fox Sports; :00]
Partly sunny skies ruled at the green flag but they soon gave way to rain.
The caution came out for the second time just 63 laps in, when Ken Schrader got knocked into Ryan Newman as the pack exited turn four.
Newman, the rookie of the year from a season ago got the worst of it, as he goes on a wild ride, flipping thru the grass.
Fortunately, he was able to walk away from the spectacular crash.
Just a short time later, the rain showers took over, red- flagging the race for just over an hour.
When the race resumed, outside pole sitter, Dale Earnhardt, Junior lost his chance at the win, thanks to a faulty battery.
His running mate on the front row, Jeff Green didn't fare much better smacking the wall and tearing up the AOL machine.
At lap 109, the rain was back, and Michael Waltrip was out front.
Waltrip was eventually declared the winner of the Great American Race for a second time. DEI has now won 7 of the last 9 plate races.
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[SUPER=01-Michael Waltrip/2nd Daytona 500 Win; :00]
[OUT Q=key to victory."]
[WIPE TO MOTION]
[SUPER=0106-1. Michael Waltrip//2. Kurt Busch//3. Jimmie Johnson//4. Kevin Harvick//5. Mark Martin//;]
[SUPER=0106-6. Robby Gordon//7. Tony Stewart//8. Jeremy Mayfield//9. Mike Wallace//10. Dale Jarrett//;]
[SUPER=0106-11. Jeff Burton//12. Jeff Gordon//13. Kyle Petty//14. Jack Sprague//15. Ricky Rudd//;]
[SUPER=0106-16. Kenny Wallace//17. Sterling Marlin//18. Todd Bodine//19. Johnny Benson//20. Matt Kenseth//;]
[SUPER=0106-21. Greg Biffle//22. Joe Nemechek//23. Elliott Sadler//24. Dave Blaney//25. Rusty Wallace//;]
[OUT Q=.....last driver."]
The Virginia Tech Lady Hokies were able to get into Boston ahead of the big winter storm, but that's just about all that went well at Chestnut Hill.
[SUPER=03-Boston, MA/Big East Network; :00]
Bonnie Henrickson's club went into Boston College a game ahead of the Lady Eagles in the standings, tied for third with Villanova.
The Lady Hokies shot just 31 percent in the first half.
Carrie Mason kept Tech in it, by scoring 10 of her 12 points in the first 20 minutes, but Tech trailed 32-24.
[SUPER=33-Virginia Tech/47/Boston College/65/;]
The Eagles' Becky Gottstein was a workhorse.
She scored a game high 22 points as Boston College went on to win it 65 to 47.
Things went better for the Lady Cavs of Virginia, who picked up momentum for the stretch run with their first road win of the season.
[SUPER=03-Atlanta, GA/ESPN2; :00]
Debbie Ryan and company came into Georgia Tech at just 5 and 7 in league play.
Coach Ryan liked to see this.
Cherisse Graham works it in for 2 of her 22 points.
UVA led by nine at the break.
Later, Anna Crosswhite is good for three from the top.
Georgia Tech got to within one late, but Graham finishes things off with the lay-in.
Virginia hangs on to win it 56 to 54.
If Tiger Woods is still rusty, the rest of the PGA field may be in big trouble.
[SUPER=03-San Diego, CA/The Buick Invitational; :00]
Playing for the first time in several months following a knee injury, Woods ran away from the pack.
He fired a final-round 68 on his way to a four shot win at the Buick Open.
Woods showed no ill effects from knee surgery, which took place just a few weeks ago.
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[SUPER=01-Tiger Woods/35th Career Win; :00]
[OUT Q=I've missed that."]