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Here We Go Again: Storm Hits East With More Snow and Rain

January 13, 1996

A storm stretching from the South to New England served up a dangerous mix of snow and freezing rain Friday, heaping more misery on Easterners still stuck in the aftermath of the Blizzard of ’96.

The storm made roads and runways slippery and closed schools and offices in much of the East, which was blanketed in 1 1/2 to 3 feet of snow on Sunday and Monday.

At least seven deaths were blamed on the latest storm, adding to the more than 100 fatalities caused by the weekend’s blizzard.

In Pittsburgh, two buses collided head-on on a snow-covered highway, killing one person and injuring at least 52. Washington’s Dulles International Airport closed briefly after a jet skidded while taxiing. No one was hurt.

The lure of an ice-covered South Carolina pond led to the deaths of two boys, aged 11 and 8, on Friday when they slipped through into the frigid water.

About 10 people were injured in a supermarket roof collapse while one person was slightly injured in the collapse of another store roof. Both happened on New York’s suburban Long Island and were attributed to the accumulation of ice and snow.

The ceiling of Harlem’s oldest black church collapsed Friday, destroying much of the sanctuary area and covering the landmark building with soot and debris. Church officials estimated damage at more than $1.5 million.

``The weight of the snow or the driving wind are probably to blame,″ said Emily Frye, a lifelong member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. ``I’m in shock and the congregation is devastated.″

In North Carolina, where up to 5 inches of snow fell in some areas, wind destroyed three homes and damaged at least a dozen others on Emerald Isle. No one was injured because the homes were unoccupied. One house had a wind speed indicator that was stuck at its top reading _ 100 mph.

``The wind direction indicator they had blew away,″ said Dan Bartholf of the National Weather Service.

For many, the wonder over winter’s power was wearing thin.

``I thought it would be like living in a little Christmas card up here,″ said Helene Kirschbaum, a bookstore owner who moved to Concord, N.H., a year ago from New York. ``Instead it’s like a white hell.″

Eight inches of snow fell in Fayetteville, W.Va., where Ralph Winter said he’d had enough of winter already.

``It was fun in the beginning. The kids like it because they can get out and play,″ he said. But ``I’m a school principal so I’ve been off work for quite a while now. I’m getting cabin fever.″

In Washington, D.C., the streets were slushy but relatively quiet Friday as the federal government called off work again because of the snow. President Clinton granted disaster status to New York, Maryland, Delaware and the nation’s capital.

In New York City, people ducking into a Manhattan subway station were wet and grouchy. ``Don’t even ask,″ one woman snapped.

``I’m fed up, it’s true, but what can we do?″ said Fran Carr, an accountant from Brooklyn. ``Transportation is the worst. Buses where I live still are not on their regular routes. I had to walk 40 minutes to the subway this morning and nothing’s plowed. You have to walk in the gutter.″

Above ground, the sentiment was the same.

``It stinks,″ said Luis Ramirez, who works at a parking lot. ``You see this sidewalk? You know how long I spent shoveling it? Now I got to do it again.″

Other regions of the country were counting their blessings. Los Angeles had clear blue skies and record-tying 87 degree temperatures Friday. And in Louisiana, every available worker was making money in the salt mines, loading tons of the stuff onto barges for the trip up the Mississippi River.

``We’re pretty much working round the clock,″ said Johnny Boudreaux, manager of Akzo Nobel Salt, Inc., on the south-central Louisiana coast. ``We got 217 miners and they’re working 20 hours a day.″

But in East, tempers have been flaring.

``People have become kind of primitive,″ said Lyn Day, a psychologist in Roanoke, Va. ``They’re getting ugly in public right now. My husband said he saw two people fighting over a carton of milk in the grocery store.″

In Charlottesville, Va., two teen-agers were charged with misdemeanors after shoveling snow onto a car whose driver had stolen a parking space they had spent hours clearing.

Still, many people didn’t let the weather get in their way.

``I’m a dedicated employee,″ said Marriott Corp. worker Michael Olzewski as he trudged through inches of newly fallen snow on his way to refill vending machines in Baltimore. ``I just want to do what I have to do and get home.″

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