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Icy Canadian Air Brings Freeze as Far South as Alabama : East, South Shiver in Snow, Record Cold

November 22, 1987|From Associated Press

A river of icy air flowing out of north-central Canada dragged temperatures below the freezing mark Saturday as far south as Alabama and spread up to 14 inches of snow from the Great Lakes to the East Coast.

Baltimore canceled its Thanksgiving Day parade because of the weather. Snow and ice on highways contributed to hundreds of traffic accidents.

In Vermont, wind blowing at 15 to 30 m.p.h. and temperatures ranging as low as zero made it feel like 40 degrees below zero, the National Weather Service said.

Out of Canada

The cold air was pulled out of Canada and turned into snow showers by a combination of the clockwise spin of a high pressure area over the Mississippi Valley and a low pressure center spinning counterclockwise south of Nova Scotia, the weather service said.

Snow fell along the southern edge of the Great Lakes, the upper Ohio Valley, the central Appalachians, northern Vermont and Upstate New York. Traces of snow were reported in the Appalachians as far south as Roanoke, Va., and Bristol, Tenn.

The Snowshoe ski resort at an elevation of more than 4,000 feet in West Virginia's mountains got 14 inches of snow in 24 hours, with a low of 3 degrees. Up to eight inches of snow fell overnight in northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania, and seven inches fell at Fabius, N.Y., southeast of Syracuse.

East of the Mississippi, only Florida had early morning temperatures as warm as the 50s.

Only Biloxi Didn't Freeze

In north-central Alabama, Pinson had a record low of 21 degrees, the weather service reported. In Mississippi, Biloxi on the Gulf Coast was the only official reporting station that did not hit freezing.

Other record lows included 8 degrees at Binghamton, N.Y.; 20 at Newark, N.J.; 14 at Scranton, Pa.; 9 at Syracuse; and 18 at Hartford, Conn. Montpelier, Vt., had a reading of 7 degrees.

Temperatures were relatively mild over the Northern Plains. Williston, N.D., tied its record high of 56 degrees in the afternoon.

The force of air blowing toward the southeast pushed water across Chesapeake Bay, dropping water levels two feet on the western shore of the bay and in the tidal Potomac River, the weather service said. In Washington, the wind gusted to 30 m.p.h. or more.

Waves of fierce snow squalls, separated by brief periods of sunshine, and the cold combined in Maryland to cause hundreds of traffic accidents and force the temporary closure of several interstate highways around Baltimore.

'Not Used to This'

"We're just not used to this here," said Don Marier, a weather service meteorologist.

Baltimore police said they had received reports of at least 200 traffic accidents when they stopped counting.

The flurries left behind only one to three inches of snow, but Maryland State Police Sgt. Steve Reynolds said the snow melted when it hit the ground in some areas and then froze when it was hit by the cold air.

Philadelphia sent teams of police and social service workers out Friday night to offer shelter to homeless people on city streets.

In Michigan, the snow allowed three ski resorts to open for the season, but it also contributed to accidents that have killed at least five people since Thursday, officials said.

Meanwhile Saturday, Typhoon Nina, packing winds up to 70 m.p.h., was reported about 500 miles southeast of Guam. It was expected to pass 200 miles south of the island early Monday.

Five People Die

The storm slammed into the capital island of the Pacific Truk Islands Friday, killing five people and destroying most of the buildings, authorities said.

Preliminary reports indicated that 75% of the private homes and 50% of the government buildings were damaged on Moen Island, capital of Truk state, one of the four states making up the Federated States of Micronesia.

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