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Weekly wrap-up: Several pileup crashes occur amid snow squalls in US; Alex becomes rare January hurricane in Atlantic

The combination of an arctic front and an Alberta Clipper storm system swept through the Midwest and Northeast earlier this week and brought troublesome snow squalls which wreaked havoc on the roadways.

Multiple pileups were reported in Indiana and Pennsylvania as the snow squalls brought fierce winds, limited visibility and covered highways in snow in a brief amount of time.

Fifteen vehicles were involved in a crash on westbound Interstate 70 in Wayne County, Indiana, Tuesday morning after snow squalls and whiteout conditions were reported, the Indiana State Patrol said. Four people were hospitalized. A second crash occurred on Interstate 74 near the Indiana/Ohio border, shutting the road down for nine hours. Approximately 40 vehicles were involved and at least six people were sent to Cincinnati-area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

According to WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, three pileups involving at least 31 vehicles were reported along I-70 in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Minor injuries were reported and the interstate was closed for several hours.

Meanwhile, rare tropical development occurred in the middle of the Atlantic this week when Hurricane Alex formed. The storm is the first Atlantic hurricane to form in January since 1938. The last time there was an Atlantic hurricane during January was in 1955, when Hurricane Alice continued to churn after forming during December of 1954.

An avalanche in the French Alps caused three deaths on Wednesday. A group of 10 schoolchildren and one teacher were involved in the avalanche. Two students were killed along with a Ukrainian man who was not a member of the group.

DRAMATIC: Avalanche slams over small village in France

The incident occurred at the French ski resort Les Deux Alpes on a ski slope that was closed. The region had experienced several days of heavy snow and a warning had been issued.

Elsewhere around the world, snow whitened parts of the United Kingdom this week.

Several AccuWeather meteorologists and staff writers contributed content to this article.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kevin Byrne at Kevin.Byrne@accuweather.com, follow him on Twitter at @Accu_Kevin. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.