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New Dose of Snow, Freezing Rain in the East; Slushy, Dangerous Mix

January 13, 1996

Start with snow piled high from the Blizzard of ’96, add more snow and freezing rain and what do you get? A choppy, slushy mess that’s making walking an ordeal, driving a danger and has roofs creaking under the weight.

``I felt it shaking, heard a tremble, looked up and the whole roof was coming in,″ said Neil Hurley, who was working in the frozen foods aisle during a supermarket roof collapse Friday night that injured 10 people in New York’s suburban Long Island.

``It all happened in an instant,″ said cashier Dan O’Neil. ``I just ran down as the tiles popped.″

Friday’s storm, stretching from the South to New England, started with snow and quickly turned to freezing rain near the coast, dumping up to a foot of new snow in some areas and adding at least seven deaths to the more than 100 fatalities caused by last weekend’s blizzard.

For Easterners, the timing couldn’t have been worse: Just as they were digging out from the 1 1/2 to 3 feet of snow dumped by Sunday and Monday’s storm, along came more slick roads, slippery runways and slush-puddled streets.

``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., from New York a year ago. ``Instead it’s like a white hell.″

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 into a snowbank 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, when they slipped through into the frigid water.

Roofs overburdened by the weight of the ice, snow and water collapsed everywhere, giving repair companies all the business they can handle.

``We’re totally booked,″ said Karen Raboin, whose roofing company in in Somerville, Mass., fielded 300 calls in just one day this week. ``This is terrible.″

Roof collapses caused severe damage, but no injuries, at Harlem’s oldest black church in New York, and at a Marshall’s clothing store in Colonial Heights, Va., where employees said the roof tumbled domino-style.

``It sounded like long thunder ... it just kept on over and over,″ said clerk Roosevelt Harris.

In Washington, D.C., the streets were 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, residents danced and tiptoed around 2 more inches of snow that quickly turned into a rising tide of curbside slop.

``Yuck!″ screamed a woman carrying a baby as she gingerly stepped off a snowbank curb into an ankle-deep gray soup in Brooklyn.

Adding to the piles of plowed, graying snow along the streets were piles of garbage _ some still containing old Christmas trees _ that have been bypassed by sanitation crews busy plowing streets. Pickups were to resume Sunday.

``It’s getting worse and worse,″ Sherry Joseph said wearily as she stepped in an icy puddle. ``I can’t see it getting better.″

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