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Parts of East Experience Record Cold Second Day in Row

January 29, 1987|From United Press International

Record cold gripped parts of the East for a second straight day Wednesday, sending the homeless flocking to shelters.

The bitter cold weather followed back-to-back blizzards that cut through the region and were blamed for at least 28 deaths.

The temperature fell to a record 17 below zero at Washington's Dulles International Airport in Virginia, 8 below in Atlantic City, N.J., and 3 below in Baltimore. It was 6 below in Albany, N.Y., and 32 degrees in Jacksonville, Fla.

In the West, a new storm that moved inland off the Pacific Coast deposited up to 16 inches of snow on the northern Sierra Nevada at Echo Summit, Nev.

Snow Closes I-80

The Utah Highway Patrol temporarily closed westbound lanes of Interstate 80 through Parley's Canyon, east of Salt Lake City, because of blowing snow.

Wind gusts as high as 70 m.p.h. roared through higher elevations of western Nevada, while gusts were clocked at 62 m.p.h. at Astoria, Ore., and 58 m.p.h. at Provo, Utah.

Snow spread across the northern and central plateau and the higher elevations of the northern and central Rockies.

Freezing temperatures in the Southeast raised concerns of Florida citrus growers and vegetable farmers. Lows were expected to dip into the low 30s and upper 20s for several hours, but a deadly freeze never materialized.

'Too Close for Comfort'

"This was almost too close for comfort," said Ernie Neff, spokesman for Florida Citrus Mutual in Lakeland, the state's largest growers' cooperative.

About two-thirds of the early orange crop--or 88 million 90-pound boxes--remains on the trees as well as 50 million boxes of grapefruit.

"It certainly looked like the potential was there (Tuesday) for damage, and there was concern throughout the industry," Neff said. "But when we got the revised forecast . . . we called off our freeze watch and everyone was very much relieved."

Shelters for the homeless were packed in the East.

An Overflow Crowd

"We're hoping anyone on the street will not stay there," said Connie Wise, assistant director of the Salvation Army shelter in Baltimore, which reported an overflow crowd. "We hope they come to the shelter."

In Boston, where the temperature dropped to 13 degrees, the 360-bed Long Island Shelter was full overnight. The Pine Street Inn, which has 350 beds, provided shelter for 650 homeless people Wednesday--many of whom slept on the floor.

The arctic cold wave also meant hectic business for the car repair industry.

Bill Zorzi, spokesman for Maryland's American Automobile Assn., said owners of about 10,000 vehicles in the Baltimore metro area alone sought service Wednesday because of dead batteries.

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