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Second Day of Record Cold, Shelters Jammed With AM-Cold Records

November 6, 1991

Undated (AP) _ Temperatures hit record lows in more than 70 cities Tuesday in the second day of a cold wave that has filled shelters for the homeless and closed schools in the Deep South.

Record lows mostly in the teens and 20s were reported at cities from Florida to New Jersey and from Minnesota to Texas.

Alamosa, Colo., hit a record 4 below zero and International Falls, Minn., upheld its icy reputation by tying its record of minus 1.

Normally hot Del Rio, Texas, on the Mexican border, chilled to a record 31.

Baton Rouge, La., hit a record of 26 and Birmingham, Ala., had a record low of 21. New Orleans dropped to a record 32 and, on the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola, Fla., cooled to a record 30.

The low of 21 at Knoxville, Tenn., toppled the mark of 24 that had been on the books since 1879.

Records were set in 100 cities Monday, with below-zero readings dotting the map from Colorado to Minnesota.

Cold, snow and ice since last week have been blamed for 13 deaths in Minnesota, six in Illinois and five in Nebraska.

Elementary school crossing guard Jerry Doom in Elkins, W.Va., said he usually doesn’t even wear a jacket this time of year when he guides youngsters across a street, but Tuesday morning the temperature was only 8 degrees.

″I had my car running with the heater on the whole time,″ said Doom, 50, a salesman for a printing company. ″I’d sit in my car to stay warm until the next bunch wanted to cross the street. I had a sweater on and my winter coat.″

In Louisiana, the cold kept hundreds of students home from Orleans Parish schools for a second day. Heating problems were blamed for the cancellation of classes at 17 campuses.

The National Weather Service warned farmers in Georgia to expect a freeze again early Wednesday in all parts of the state except the extreme southeast. But forecasters said temperatures later in the week should be more typical of November.

The cold has filled many homeless shelters, including Grace House of Union Mission in Savannah, Ga.

″We’ve been running high,″ said the mission’s executive director, the Rev. Michael Elliott.

Some shelters in Atlanta surpassed their capacity and put out a plea for clothing and blankets. If the cold snap continues, the city may open overflow shelters Wednesday, said Jerome Eppinger, who coordinates shelters for Atlanta’s Human Services Department.

Detroit sent vans to round up street people and opened recreation centers because of the bitter cold, at the same time thousands are expected to be evicted as they are kicked off welfare rolls in a state crackdown.

″We aren’t very happy with what’s happening. I just hate it, to tell you the truth,″ said Donald Godfrey, president of the Pontiac Rescue Mission in the Detroit area. ″And then we have a cold snap like this and we realize how full we are.″

The mission’s 100 beds have been filled every night and workers are adding 50 more by Thanksgiving, Godfrey said. Some may be forced to sleep on the chapel pews or in the dining area, he said.

On the northern Plains, blasted by a record snowstorm last week, icy rain made roads slippery again Tuesday in Nebraska and some schools closed or delayed opening of classes.

Police blamed ice for a traffic accident near Ord, Neb., that killed a driver whose mail truck collided with a tractor-trailer rig on a state highway Tuesday.

Elsewhere, as often occurs when cold hammers the rest of the nation, residents of southern California got to gloat.

″The beach is superb,″ said Lt. Nick Steers, a Los Angeles County lifeguard in Santa Monica, looking at a thermometer that read 76 degrees. ″It is just a beautiful, gorgeous day down here.″

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