Rescuers search for 30 after avalanche hits Italian hotel

PENNE, Italy (AP) — Rescue workers on skis reached a four-star spa hotel buried by an avalanche in earthquake-stricken central Italy Thursday, reporting no signs of life as they searched for around 30 people believed trapped inside. Three bodies were recovered as heavy vehicles struggled to get to the scene.

Two people escaped the devastation at the Hotel Rigopiano, in the mountains of the Gran Sasso range, and called for help, but it took hours for responders to arrive to the remote zone.

Days of heavy snowfall had knocked out electricity and phone lines in many central Italian towns and hamlets, compounded by four powerful earthquakes that struck the region on Wednesday.

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Passengers on a South Shore train were stuck for more than five hours after ice on an overhead wire and on the tracks prevented the train from making it up and over a hill west of the Hegewisch station.
Annette Smith boarded the train at 5:44 a.m. in East Chicago. The train went through two stops, Hammond and Hegewisch, before it got stuck on a hill.
“We could not make it across the hill because the lines were frozen. So we went back and forth, maybe two or three times, trying to build up the momentum to get up the hill,” Smith said.

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Too much snow closes ski resorts in California, Nevada

Instead of bringing delight to skiers and snowboarders eager for fresh powder, the intense snowstorms that buried the mountains of California and Nevada under up to 10 feet of snow this week instead caused several winter resorts to close.

The massive amount of snow combined with high winds and road closures on Wednesday again shut down the Woodward Tahoe Ski Area in California, which referred to the storm as #Snowpocalypse2017.

[Editor’s note: 11 to 16 feet of snow has been reported at Mammoth, and wind gusts blew at 173 mph on a Squaw Valley summit and 175 mph atop a peak in Alpine Meadows! ]

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