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Snow and Cold Sock the South

January 19, 1992

Undated (AP) _ A rare deep chill and snowfall held the South in its mitts a second day Sunday. Churches canceled services in Georgia and Alabama and homeless shelter cots were in demand in Kentucky.

Much farther north, in Columbus, Ohio, police searched Sunday for the mother of a newborn girl left outside a hospital as the wind chill dropped to 1 below zero.

In Georgia, as much as 8 1/2 inches of snow fell south and east of Atlanta from a storm starting Saturday night, and people jammed stores to stock up on bread, canned goods, milk and other supplies.

″We sold a lot of film,″ Carolyn Dickinson, manager of the Majik Market in Hampton, Ga., said Sunday. ″I guess people are taking a lot of snow pictures.″

Much of the snow melted Sunday in Georgia and Alabama as temperatures reached 40 degrees. But the National Weather Service said the melted snow probably would refreeze Sunday night as temperatures dropped into the lower 20s, causing hazardous driving conditions into Monday’s morning rush hour.

Bad weather across Mississippi let up Sunday after the storm pelted the state with ice, sleet and as much as six inches of snow in the north. Early morning lows ranged from near 20 degrees in the north to the low and mid-30s in the south.

Two people died in a traffic accident on a slushy road in Mississippi, a state trooper said.

In southern Mississippi, the precipitation was rain, causing rivers and streams to overflow their banks. Two to three inches of rain were common across the region.

Temperatures in Kentucky dipped to 1 below zero, well under the average of 20s and 30s. Kentucky’s homeless shelters were full. Some put out white flags, meaning no one would be turned away.

Willie Malone, a homeless man from Louisville, said he usually avoids shelters, ″but not when it gets this cold. You go inside or you freeze to death. Simple as that.″

As much as 7 inches of snow fell Saturday in central Alabama, and police in Childersburg and Alexander City, Ala., said most Sunday church services were canceled. Dozens of Georgia churches also canceled services.

Some Alabama motorists insisted on driving in the snow, and wreckers were swamped with storm-idled vehicles.

″They’re sliding off left and right,″ said Sherry Tillery, co-owner of Tillery’s Wrecker Service in Talladega. ″These people won’t get in and stay in.″

But in Georgia, one official reported light traffic Sunday.

″Most people are staying home, and that’s a good idea,″ Haralson sheriff’s Sgt. Charles Wood said.

Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport received 5 inches of snow and closed two of its four runways Saturday night, but the airport was running normally by Sunday afternoon, spokeswoman Rhonda Copenny said.

Up in Ohio, hospital workers found a baby girl just a day or two old in a car seat Saturday night outside the Urgent Medical Care center in Columbus, said police officer Harold Brown. The temperature then was 11 degrees and the wind chill 1 below zero, the National Weather Service said.

No information was left with the baby, Brown said. The infant was admitted to Children’s Hospital for observation and was in fair condition Sunday, said nursing supervisor Donna Teepsel.

″She’s a pretty, beautiful baby,″ Teepsel said.