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Record Cold in 20s Frosts Midwest, Southeast

October 09, 1987|From United Press International

Record cold gripped the upper Midwest and the Southeast on Thursday, while even colder air was moving into the northern Plains, weather officials said.

Predawn temperatures dropped into the 30s and 40s east of the Mississippi River, with 20-degree readings reported in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky. Lows were in the 30s as far south as northwest Florida.

Record lows were set in at least 29 cities in the Midwest and Southeast, including readings of 22 degrees in Madison, Wis.; 23 in Green Bay, Wis.; 29 in Chicago and Milwaukee; 34 in Birmingham, Ala.; 35 in Chattanooga, Tenn., Huntsville, Ala., and Jackson, Miss., and 38 in Tallahassee, Fla.

A low of 37 in Montgomery, Ala., broke the previous record of 39 degrees, established 98 years ago.

Scrapes Off Frost

At Cairo, Ill., along the Kentucky border, a record low of 29 degrees surpassed the old mark of 38 set in 1921. "It was a light frost on automobiles. I had to do a little scraping," said Marvin Shore, a meteorologist at the Cairo weather office, who drives in from Paducah, Ky., to operate the facility.

A low of 28 degrees at Evansville, Ind., was the coldest reading on record for so early in the season. But even colder air reportedly was on the way, trailing a Canadian cold front moving down into the northern Plains.

The cold front "will bring the coldest air so far this season," with low temperatures expected to drop into the teens across the northern Plains by week's end, National Weather Service forecaster Hugh Crowther said.

Inch of Snow Forecast

Snow flurries are possible in North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming as the cold front passes through, Crowther said. As much as an inch of snow was forecast for parts of Minnesota.

Strong northwest winds accompanied the cold front, with gusts clocked in excess of 40 m.p.h. in western North Dakota.

Frost and freeze warnings were posted over much of New York state, as well as parts of Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Light snow dusted parts of extreme northern Minnesota on Thursday morning, while rain showers dotted sections of Maine, western Pennsylvania and western New York state. Dry conditions prevailed over the remainder of the nation.

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