City’s Disruptions Numerous From Cold, Ice With AM-Cold Rdp, Bjt
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Disruptions of everything from bus service to church services made life a chore Sunday while this northeastern Florida river city fought record cold and treacherous ice.
″It’s a winter wonderland in Jacksonville. It’s a beautiful sight for a city that doesn’t get snow very often, and it’s also a very dangerous situation for the same reason,″ said Mayor Tommy Hazouri.
Throughout late Saturday and early Sunday, most of Jacksonville’s bridges were closed to traffic. Police responded to dozens of traffic accidents, most fender-benders from skidding cars.
For the first time since Hurricane Dora in 1964, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority suspended bus service.
Worrying that heavy use of electricity might force power reductions to some neighborhoods, electric utility officials asked that outdoor Christmas lights and hot water heaters be shut off.
″That may not sound like much, but if you multiply that several thousand times ... it can make a difference,″ said Clyde Montgomery, a spokesman for the Jacksonville Electric Authority.
The authority had a record for power use for the year Saturday at 2,100 megawatts, Montgomery said.
Interstate 10 between Jacksonville and Tallahassee was closed for hours.
All flights were cancelled at Jacksonville International Airport on Saturday and Sunday.
Many passengers were stranded while carrying colorfully wrapped Christmas packages intended for friends and relatives elsewhere.
Some hospitals were short on nurses because many could not get to work.
Numerous churches canceled Sunday’s regular and special Christmas Eve services.
An 8-year-old boy died after a malfunctioning kerosene heater started a fire in a bedroom where he, his mother and three other children were sleeping, authorities said.
Cindy Mosling, operator of BEAKS, a bird emergency care center, said she had received more than 100 calls from people who had sighted birds injured by the cold and ice.
However, icy bridges to her bird sanctuary prevented her from rescuing any of the birds.