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Winter's Focus Shifts From East to West : Fierce Storms Pass Into Atlantic as Pacific Area Gets Rain, Snow

January 04, 1987|From United Press International

A winter storm bombarded the West Coast with heavy snow, rain and winds of almost 100 m.p.h. Saturday, while storms that brought as much as 23 inches of snow and rain to the East Coast moved out to sea.

The Pacific storm dropped heavy rain and snow in the mountains from Northern California to Washington and Oregon, and as much as 18 inches of snow was expected in the northern Sierra Nevada.

Travel advisories of snow and gusty winds were in effect for the mountains of Washington and Oregon, where several inches of new snow was expected.

Rain and snow were scattered from the northern plateau into northwestern Montana, and nine inches of new snow fell overnight at the Schweitzer ski area in northern Idaho.

Oregon Coast Gales

Gale warnings were posted for the Oregon coast, and forecasters said some minor coastal flooding might occur in Washington because of the storm coinciding with exceptionally high tides.

"We're going to have some tidal flooding," said Jan Leonardo, Whatcome County, Wash., Emergency Services Department director. "We're advising people to move their valuables off the floor."

In the East, snow showers from two storm systems lingered, from the Ohio Valley across the Appalachian Mountains into New England, but forecasters said the storms were moving northeastward, away from the United States, and were expected to reach the coast of Nova Scotia by today.

"All of the heavy snow has ended and moved into New Brunswick and the Gulf of St. Lawrence," said Pete Reynolds of the National Weather Service. "There is still some snow-shower activity in northern New England, but there are no winter storm warnings and traveler advisories . . . they have all expired."

Ski Bus Overturns

In Marcellus, N.Y., a ski tour bus overturned on a snow-slippery road and was struck by two other vehicles early Saturday. One bus passenger was killed and all 46 others were injured, state police said.

Before it moved out to sea, that storm dumped 23 inches of snow on Londonderry, N.H., 21 inches at Dover and Rindge, N.H., 14 inches at Cortland and Ithaca, N.Y., and 12 inches at Syracuse, N.Y., and Arlington, Vt. At least 18 deaths were blamed on the weather.

The storms unleashed raging winds that combined with unusually high tides from a rare alignment of the Earth, moon and sun to push 15-foot waves over seawalls Friday. Roadways were flooded and basements were filled.

The weather service said that high tides on Saturday along the East Coast averaged about two feet lower than Friday's, and flood warnings were canceled. Forecasters said that some low-lying coastal areas could get more flooding, however.

Rockies Storm Weakened

Meanwhile, a fast-moving storm that dumped up to 19 inches of snow in the Rockies and set off as many as 35 avalanches in Colorado's high country on Friday lost much of its strength as it moved into the nation's midsection.

The weakened storm spread snow across parts of South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas and Missouri. Parts of northwestern Kansas got three inches of snow overnight, and snow advisories were issued Saturday for southern Missouri, northern Arkansas and northeastern Oklahoma.

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