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Wintry Witch’s Brew Ices Roads, Dumps Snow

November 26, 1985

Undated (AP) _ Freezing temperatures and snow prevailed from the Northwest to southern New England today after high wind drove Montana’s wind chill as low as minus 60 degrees and snow and ice figured in hundreds of traffic accidents and a plane crash.

Snow fell today from central New York state to parts of New England, Lake Superior, the Rockies, and the Pacific Northwest. A sloppy mixture of snow, freezing rain and sleet extended from Wisconsin to northern Pennsylvania.

Travelers’ advisories were in effect in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin and Michigan, where snow-covered roads were hazardous.

The National Weather Service said up to 8 inches of new snow accumulated Monday in parts of Minnesota and North Dakota.

Four more inches fell early this morning on International Falls, Minn., while Hibbing, Minn., and Albany, N.Y., had three inches. Rochester, N.Y., and Worcester, Mass., had two inches.

″The roads are a mess,″ Michigan State Police dispatcher Mark Obrecht said in Lansing early today, after salt trucks were deployed against freezing rain and the Upper Peninsula braced for at least 2 inches of snow today.

″It was like a sheet of glass,″ said Trooper James Paul after 11 cars were involved in accidents on the Michigan 40 overpass at Interstate 94 at Paw Paw. At least eight cars collided at one slick intersection in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, and Kalamazoo County police reported 38 accidents in a six-hour period, including one in which two people were killed.

Idaho state police closed several highways in the eastern and southeastern parts of the state because of drifting snow and poor visibility.

At least 22 deaths in eight states were blamed on the weather. Police reported hundreds of traffic accidents through the weekend and into today in Washington, Missouri, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Michigan, Massachusetts, California, the Dakotas and elsewhere.

A twin-engine plane carrying members of the Iowa State University cross- country team from Milwaukee to Ames, Iowa, crashed Monday evening in a freezing drizzle in Des Moines, killing seven people.

Dense fog Monday at Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers Airport forced cancellation or delays of more than 40 of the airport’s 82 daily arrivals and departures, officials said.

Eleven inches of snow fell overnight at Alta, Utah, and 18 inches was reported at 8,500 feet near Bishop, Calif.

In Washington, where up to three inches of snow was forecast overnight, organizations that house and feed the homeless said their resources were strained to capacity.

Robert Willmott, director of Strand Helpers, said his agency was housing about 70 people a night and serving 1,500 meals a week, much more than its usual load.

Some drifters told him they were heading south for warmer weather.

″It’s getting too bad on the streets for them,″ he said. ″Even panhandling doesn’t work in this kind of weather. It’s just too cold to go out.″

In Oregon, record low temperatures for the date were reported in five cities, including 4 degrees in Pendleton and 25 degrees in Astoria.

And there were new record low temperatures today in seven cities in Montana, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington. Great Falls, Mont., shivered with a 21 below zero reading, 11 degrees lower than a 1955 record. In Williston, N.D., it was a record 18 below.

It was the eighth straight day of record cold in Spokane, Wash., and the sixth stright in Boise, Idaho.

At Government Camp on Oregon’s Mount Hood, a roadside snow depth of 54 inches was the most reported for the date since 1973, when 60 inches covered the area. The National Weather Service said the average snow depth for the date there is 12 inches.

Wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph in North Dakota obscured visibility with blowing snow and drove wind chill factors to from 30 below to 50 below zero Monday, and wind up to 30 mph in eastern Montana created a wind chill effect of 40 to 60 below zero. Wind gusted to 71 mph at the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo., and a gust to 76 mph was recorded west of the city.

School officials called off classes Monday in Seattle and Tacoma, where cold and snow in normally frost-free western Washington left roads icy and caused hundreds of fender-bender traffic accidents.

More than a dozen Idaho districts closed schools Monday.

A highway through Little Cottonwood Canyon leading to resort areas southeast of Salt Lake City was closed by police for about six hours Monday after a blizzard dumped up to a foot of snow, causing poor visibility and drifting snow.

The November snowfall at Boise, Idaho, passed 11 inches, eclipsing the 20th-century record for the month of 8.8 inches set in 1973, while Pocatello has had a record November snowfall of more than 20 inches.