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Snow and Ice Close Schools, Stall Travelers

January 3, 1996

Sleet and heavy snow glazed highways Wednesday from the Ohio Valley to New England, closing schools and airports and stranding drivers.

``Some days it doesn’t pay to get out of bed,″ grumbled Tom Horvath, digging a car out of a knee-deep snowdrift outside his home in Toledo, Ohio. ``I hate snow. Wake me up when it’s spring.″

There were scattered school closings from Missouri to Maine.

``Snow is made for kids,″ said 10-year-old Stella Knapik of Agawam, Mass., as she and her 11-year-old sister tumbled down a snow-covered hillside.

Thirteen inches of snow was reported at Utica, N.Y., with 10 inches by midday in central Indiana, 9 in Illinois and up to a foot in Missouri. Snow flurries were reported as far south as Alabama.

Up to 21 inches fell along the Great Lakes in upstate New York. Rochester’s total this season jumped from 43 inches to 64, 13 more inches than all of last season, and Buffalo’s 10 inches of new snow gave it a season total of just over 88 inches, up from 35 at this time last year.

In New England, Concord, N.H., had 6 inches by afternoon, for a total so far this season of more than 40 inches, compared with 35 during all of last winter.

Boston’s Logan Airport was closed eight times throughout the day for snow removal, and Cleveland’s airport was closed for two hours. Non-emergency car travel was banned in a dozen of Ohio’s hardest-hit counties.

Snow-packed, icy highways stopped motorists in the Midwest.

``Every room in town was booked, and they set up a shelter at the Presbyterian church down the way for people who couldn’t get a room,″ said Matt Nelson, night auditor at a motel in Mattoon, Ill.

Some 75 to 100 people had to spend the night at a school in Indiana’s Shelby County.

About 300 people were stranded at the downtown Greyhound bus station in Columbus, Ohio.

``We have passengers all over the place. We can’t move anything out of here,″ said Greyhound customer service representative Elyse Henson.

Down the street from the bus station, the snow postponed the first voting sessions of the year for the Ohio Legislature.

So many people got the day off in Massachusetts that Nynex reported extremely heavy telephone volume. Some people had to wait for dial tones or could not get through at all.

However, the Rev. Jim Renfrew had an appreciation for the weather.

``I figure if it’s going to snow at all, it might as well be a good snow,″ said Renfrew, walking his son to the YMCA through knee-deep drifts in Rochester, N.Y. ``It quiets the city down, it gives people exercise shoveling snow, it gives us more time with our kids who don’t go to school. Let us enjoy it _ this is beautiful!″

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