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Record Snow Hits on Thanksgiving

November 24, 1989

Undated (AP) _ Residents of much of the East woke up to a rare white Thanksgiving, with record amounts of snow causing traffic headaches for holiday travelers.

″We are certainly starting our winter season off with a bang,″ said Jim Poirier, a meteorologist in New York.

Snow fell overnight from Virginia to New England and was expected to end Thursday, though Friday was expected to be cold.

″All sorts of records, tons of records″ were broken, said Harry Woodworth, a weather service meteorologist in Newark, N.J., where nearly 6 inches fell in less than 24 hours, breaking the Thanksgiving record of 4 inches set in 1938.

It was only the fifth time in 65 years that measurable snow fell in Boston on the holiday. The 4.4 inch snowfall was the heaviest on record for Thanksgiving there since 1925. New York City received its first white Thanksgiving in 51 years.

Most people already were at their Thanksgiving destinations by the time the snow hit, said Sgt. Dominick Evangelista of the Port Authority, which oversees Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark airports. There were delays at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., but no cancellations.

No one was hurt in a seven-car pileup on an expressway in New York City, and Connecticut and New Hampshire police reported only minor accidents.

In the coastal town of Duxbury, Mass., police worked double-time to free families stuck in their cars.

″We can’t even get the cruisers out of the yard 3/8″ said Patrolman Phil P. Thayer. ″You come in to work on Thanksgiving because it’s part of the job, but getting caught by surprise like this sort of undermines morale. We’re just gritting our teeth and trying to get through.″

Thanksgiving Day high school football games were canceled in many communities. But parades went on in New York City and Philadelphia.

Six to 8 inches of snow fell along the southern New Jersey coast, and 3 to 8 inches were recorded in southern New England, where Cape Cod felt the brunt of the storm. Maryland and Delaware reported 4 to 6 inches of snow.

Up to 8 inches were recorded in two days in metropolitan New York. A snowfall of 4.7 inches Thursday was a record for Nov. 23, breaking the 1897 record of 2.3. Thursday’s snowfall was a record for Thanksgiving Day, breaking the 1938 mark of 3.9 inches.

Thanksgiving snow on top of the dozen-plus inches of snow that fell this week in New Hampshire was good news for skiers. Two ski areas opened Monday, two more hoped to do so Thursday, and other ski areas planned to open Friday.

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