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Storm Lashes Great Lakes; Cold Chills Eastern Cities

January 23, 1987|From Associated Press

A new storm lashed the Great Lakes today with snow and wind that shoved windchill readings to as low as 70 below zero, while a cold wave meant more misery for cities from the Gulf Coast to New England digging out from a major blast of ice and snow.

Armies of plows and salt-spreaders were deployed along the Eastern Seaboard to clear highways and runways buried by the storm, which was born in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday night, became a blizzard in New England on Thursday night and moved into Canada this morning.

It left behind up to 20 inches of snow, forced schools to close from Mississippi to Maine, stymied travelers and brought much of the work of the federal government to a halt. Ten deaths were blamed on the storm.

National Airport in Washington, New Jersey's Newark International and New York's Kennedy and LaGuardia airports reopened this morning after being shut down Thursday.

Single Runways Open

A single runway at Boston's Logan Airport was open for departures early today. A runway opened at Philadelphia International Airport for arrivals and departures.

Winter's worst came today in the Great Lakes region, where icy winds moving across the warmer waters churned up snowstorms from Michigan to Indiana.

Northwesterly winds gusting to 47 m.p.h. knifed across Michigan. In Sault Ste. Marie, where temperatures fell to 20 below zero early today, the windchill factor was 60 below to 70 below, the National Weather Service said. Ten to 20 inches of snow was expected by tonight in the Upper Peninsula.

Blowing snow and cold turned many county roads in east-central Illinois into solid sheets of ice, police said.

Some Highways Closed

At mid-morning, the temperature was zero in Decatur, but northwest winds made it feel like 34 below on bare skin. In Chicago, where the temperature was 1 degree above, the windchill index stood at 33 below.

In northern Indiana, blowing and drifting snow shut down some highways. South Bend accumulated 9.1 inches of snow by 7 a.m. as temperatures across the state dropped to their lowest levels of the season.

A mid-morning temperature of 2, plus a westerly wind of 21 m.p.h., created a windchill factor of 30 below in Indianapolis.

Readings in Minnesota ranged from 15 below in the south to about 35 below in the north.

Temperatures dropped in parts of the Deep South as soon as the skies cleared there Thursday, and extreme cold began moving into the Northeast today. In some states, officials again urged motorists to stay off the roads.

Fears 'Ice-Skating Rink'

"The road crews need to get as much of the snow off the highways before the temperatures drop into the single digits tonight," said Maryland state police spokesman Chuck Jackson.

"We're concerned that the temperature is going to drop and we're going have the whole metropolitan area turn into an ice-skating rink."

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