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Storm Spreads Snow Over New England

January 06, 1986|From Times Wire Services

AUGUSTA, Me. — The second major snowstorm to sweep across New England in three days left one man dead Sunday and highways icy as motorists were warned to stay home.

In Idaho, meanwhile, the Snake River was receding at Payette, where an ice jam threatened to flood a sewage treatment pond. Officials feared that any warming trend could renew threats of flooding and possible contamination of water supplies to five towns.

The New England storm, which left up to a foot or more of snow in the mountains of Vermont, had closed highways Friday, when it was centered in the nation's midsection, in parts of Wyoming and South Dakota. Police in Iowa reported many cars sliding off roads.

Storm Warnings

Winter storm warnings were posted over much of Maine and northeastern Vermont, with up to an additional 14 inches of snow possible across northern Maine. New Hampshire residents braced for snowfalls that could add up to 17 inches, officials said.

Gale warnings extended from the New England coast across the New Jersey coast.

The Maine Turnpike dropped its speed limit from 55 m.p.h. to 45 m.p.h. for the entire 100-mile length of the road Sunday.

In Orono, state police reported a dozen mostly minor accidents, at least one involving injuries, by noon, and several cars slid off Interstate 95.

Donald E. Landry, 50, of North Anson, suffered a fatal heart attack while riding a snowmobile on Moosehead Lake, said Paul Fournier of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department.

The National Weather Service issued a statewide winter storm warning and predicted accumulations of up to 14 inches in the northern mountains.

The snow had stopped by evening across much of southern Maine, leaving accumulations of between 6 and 10 inches, said meteorologist George Wiseman of the weather service office in Portland.

Wet snow mixed with freezing rain coated roads and car windows with a gritty, slippery crust, causing Maine state police to warn residents not to travel unless in emergencies.

"They can barely see 10 feet in front of them," said dispatcher Bonnie Pinkham. "Usually, Sunday morning is extremely quiet for us. It's not that way this morning."

No major accidents were reported, but scores of cars were skidding, Pinkham said.

Before the snowstorm reached the East Coast Sunday, it dropped a half foot of snow in parts of Iowa Saturday, causing a Nebraska man to lose control of his car on an icy patch and slide into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Fred Otte, 75, of Minatare, Neb., died in the crash.

Gusty winds whipped up snow, causing near-blizzard conditions, and were responsible for a 16-car pileup on Interstate 35 between Ames and Des Moines, Iowa. The pileup injured 14 people, and authorities had to pry some victims from their cars.

'Couldn't See a Thing'

"It would be fine and then the snow would blow, and you couldn't see a thing for a moment," said Kathy Ennis, who was hospitalized in Des Moines.

Indiana officials were able to keep drifted snow under control Sunday, and state officials said only minor accidents were reported.

Strong winds in excess of 30 m.p.h. were clocked at New Orleans and Mobile, Ala., Sunday, and gale warnings were issued from Beaumont-Port Arthur, Tex., to Apalachicola, Fla.

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