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Storm Sputters Over Northeast; New Storm Hits West Coast

December 30, 1987

Undated (AP) _ A strong winter storm that blasted the Plains and Midwest with fierce wind and snow sputtered as it blew east Tuesday, but still packed enough force to cause train and plane delays in several cities.

Meanwhile, rain-swollen rivers flooded parts of four states and a new storm hit the West Coast, bringing up to a foot of snow to California ski resorts.

The first storm, which hit the Colorado foothills with up to 34 inches of snow, reached New England Tuesday with strong winds. It extended from Michigan to West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. The storm has been blamed for 23 deaths.

Eight inches fell on parts of Pennsylvania and up to 4 inches fell in the New York City area, where train delays were reported because of snow and gusty winds.

The storm ″just grazed our area,″ said Cliff Crowley of the National Weather Service’s New York bureau. ″The storm tracked east of us. If it had followed the coast, we could have had a foot or more. It’s a very big storm.″

Flight delays were reported at airports in New York, in Detroit and in Boston, where Eastern Airlines said all of its incoming flights had been canceled for a time because of snow and wind. By evening, flights in and out of Boston had resumed but were still experiencing delays, officials said.

Gusty winds and 10 inches of snow in southern Michigan caused dozens of accidents. But the foul weather didn’t discourage some hearty tennis players who braved the elements to reach a holiday tournament in Kalamazoo.

″Personally I think some of the players are a little crazy to drive in this weather,″ said Pat Mosher, director of operations at the West Hills Athletic and Tennis Club. ″But if I were in it, I’d probably come too.″

The roads were in bad shape, said Dale Ford, an employee at a 7-Eleven in Kalamazoo.

″The milkman couldn’t make it (for a delivery), the grocery man couldn’t make it, but the mailman got through,″ he said.

In Massachusetts, the storm dropped up to 6 inches of snow and packed strong winds that toppled several utility lines in the Cape Cod area, leaving some residents temporarily without phone service or electricity, said State Trooper Gerard Britt.

About 10,000 Tulsa, Okla., residents were without power Tuesday as utility crews tried to restore lines damaged in a Christmas ice storm.

Salt trucks patrolled city streets in New York, Cleveland and Denver, where snowplows chipped away at some of the snow left over the weekend.

Road crews in the Baltimore area waited for a snow storm that never materialized. Only about a half-inch of powder fell late Monday and early Tuesday.

Flooding was reported in parts of Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas, where heavy rains caused the worst flooding along the Ouachita River in 40 years.

The river is expected to crest 17 feet above flood stage on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

The Ouachita County sheriff’s office and other emergency crews evacuated about 400 people who live near the river north of Camden, Chief Deputy Ben Garner said Tuesday.

″We’re continuing to work around the clock. We’ve got the Amy-Harmony Grove area hit the hardest at this time. The evacuations have been going on since Saturday and we’re still conducting emergency evacuations,″ Garner said.

A new Pacific storm spread snow and freezing rain acorss much of Oregon. Authorities temporarily closed Interstate 5 at several locations because of accidents, including one in Portland in which six trucks jackknifed.

Southern California ski resort operators were overjoyed by the weather.

″The situation is beautiful and fast approaching excellent,″ said Pat Marsh at the Gold Mine ski resort in Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains about 90 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

The resort had between 1 1/2 and 4 feet of snow on the slopes.

In northern California, two skiers who got lost during a blinding snowstorm Monday were found early Tuesday near the Sugar Bowl ski resort. The storm dumped more than a foot in parts of the Sierra Nevada.

The deaths of four men each in Wisconsin and Michigan, two in Illinois and one in Minnesota were blamed on the exertion of snow removal, officials said. There were two sorm-related traffic deaths in Illinois, three in Pennsylvania and Maryland and one each in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. An Oklahoma woman died Tuesday morning of exposure.

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