UPDATE: Eastern Iowans stranded in East Coast blizzard finally b - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Eastern Iowans stranded in East Coast blizzard finally back home

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Carrie Krapfl Carrie Krapfl
Carrie Krapfl Carrie Krapfl

UPDATE: Lily Kemp anxiously waits for her mom to arrive home. 

"Boy, after being stuck that long, thinking about your family, thinking about what everyone is doing, even though everything is okay...it's still a little heart-wrenching to want to be with your family and be at home, so to see her having signs there waiting for me, that was...that was one of the best highlights coming home," said Lily's mother Jessica Kemp, who's a board member with Dubuque County Right to Life.

Kemp is one of the Dubuquer's who was stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for nearly 24 hours -- all because of the massive winter storm on the east coast.

There were more than 200 of them -- of all ages. "We had God with us...and we were praying the whole time making sure that we can make it through," said Daniel Pranger.

After waiting several hours to find relief, the buses were able to move again -- and the group made their final stop. "I was just glad to get my booty off that bus and stretch my legs," said David Roche.

Those stranded say they leaned on one another -- but also had fun along the way.

"Friendship...we had each other, and we got to play in the snow outside, we had a snowball fight," said students from Aquin Catholic School in Cascade.

Many also not forgetting their faith during the trying time.

"There were actually three masses that took place on that highway.  Faith...part of our every day lives, so it was pretty much normal for us, except having mass outside isn't too normal," added Roche.

As for the Pennsylvania Turnpike -- things are moving along. Officials say they hope to reopen the section where hundreds were stranded at some point Saturday. 

Authorities are looking into how the situation developed.


UPDATE: Miles of cars were stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike -- all because of winter storm Jonas.

200 people from Dubuque were affected, but buses started moving again.

"We got stopped at uh, 11 o'clock, no, I'm sorry...about 9 o'clock eastern time last night," said Leon Jensen, Dubuque County Right to Life Board Member.

Five buses filled with adults and kids went to Washington D.C. to protest during the annual "March for Life," rally.

Jensen says they cut the trip short, but it still didn't turn out so well. "We knew the storm was coming, we kept looking at the weather.  We kept timing, trying to time when we could get back, and still, you know, be safe...obviously we missed it by a little bit."

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf updating media  -- saying there are 500 cars stuck. "We only have one major problem and that is between Bedford and Somerset on the turnpike. We're trying to...we're doing our best to address that situation," said Gov. Wolf.

As for those stranded -- they bond with one another...even coming together for an outdoor mass. "A bunch of us got together and they're celebrating mass out in the snowstorm. They made an alter out of snow," added Jensen.

And during this difficult situation, they say the trip was still worth it.

"You know, this is an inconvenience, but its certainly, uh...very minor in compared to the tragedy that we came to protest against."

Those stuck on the turnpike say, despite the past several hours -- they're in good spirits.  

They say family and friends in Iowa shouldn't worry too much -- they're fine, but keep them in your prayers.

As of 6:50 p.m. central time, KWWL was informed some of the buses started moving again. 


UPDATE:  About 250 people from Eastern Iowa are stranded on the Pennsylvania Turnpike because of the East Coast blizzard.

As of 11:30 Central time, they've been stuck for more than 15 hours.

The say they're 10 miles west of Bedford County, PA and 100 miles east of Pittsburgh. 

Although it's a difficult situation,  people are coming together to support one another.  For example, many participated in an outdoor mass.

Leon Jensen, board member of Dubuque County Right to Life says it could be another 10 hours before traffic gets moving again.

He says all people are accounted for, safe and warm.

Jensen also added the National Guard has dropped off water to those stranded.

Stay tuned to KWWL for more developments.


UPDATE: The group from Dubuque that went to Washington D.C. for the "March for Life," rally then left right afterward, has been stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for about 10 hours.

They tell us traffic is backed up because of several accidents due to the snow. Hopefully, they'll be home safe and sound soon.

We've attached images sent in from the stranded Iowans.

We will keep you updated on any developments.


Thousands of demonstrators from across the country are in Washington D.C. protesting against abortion at the annual "March for Life," -- including the group, Dubuque County Right to Life.

"Now the march is just beginning to start, so we're going to be getting in that line going up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building," said Mary Kluesner.

At the same time, d.c. is prepping for a blizzard -- expecting up to 24 inches of snow.  although the snow storm is predicted to hit the city -- the rally still goes on.

Five buses from Dubuque drove the 18 hour ride to the east coast.  "We got out here yesterday about 11, and we're doing the March right now," said Cheryl Kluesner.

All of this for the 43rd anniversary of Roe v Wade -- the Supreme Court's decision to make abortions legal.  Dubuquer's say it was important to make the trip to make their voices heard.

"The reason we came is that we support life and so, we knew we wanted to stay for the rally and the march and we will be leaving right afterward," added Mary.

However, the group is returning to Iowa early to avoid the burnt of the storm.  They were were not scheduled to leave until Saturday, but right after the march was over, they hoped right back on the buses.

Also in attendance at the rally were Sen. Joni Ernst and Republican Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

This year's theme is "Pro-Life and Pro-Woman go Hand-in-Hand."

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