Rain In East, Snow and More Cold In Northwest
Undated (AP) _ Rain dampened Thanksgiving Day throughout much of the East and snow piled up in New England and the Western mountains, while November’s record cold wave continued with 32 below zero at International Falls, Minn. But parts of the Southeast continued to bask in unseasonably warm weather.
Heavy rain on saturated ground made streams flood in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where floods earlier in the month caused widespread destruction.
Travelers’ advisories warning of slippery roads from snow or freezing rain were posted from New England into northeastern Pennsylvania, southern Michigan, central Missouri, northwestern Arkansas, Colorado’s mountains, parts of Oregon and the mountains of Northern California and Nevada.
Thanksgiving Day lows were between 10 below zero and 20 below zero from Montana to northern Minnesota. Havre, Mont., hit a record low of 26 degrees below zero, and the National Weather Service calculated the wind chill factor at around 70 below zero.
The ″nation’s icebox,″ International Falls, along the Canadian border in Minnesota’s North Woods, hit a low of 32 below zero. The previous record for the date was only 21 below, set in 1978.
Other record lows for the date included 16 below at Billings, Mont.; 8 below at Duluth, Minn.; 24 below at Great Falls, Mont.; and 16 below at Kalispell, Mont., and Rapid City, S.D. Havre’s low broke a record that had stood since 1896, while Fargo, N.D., hit 24 below to tie a record on the books since 1886.
Spokane, Wash., hit record lows in 10 of the last 11 days, the weather service said, but Thursday’s low of 12 below missed the record for the date, set in 1896, by one degree.
By contrast, high temperature records for the date included 77 at Raleigh, N.C.; 71 at Roanoke, Va., and 81 at Savannah, Ga. And Wilmington, N.C., tied its record of 80.
The snow that spread into New England brought ski slopes to life but snarled traffic and dozens of cars slid off highways.
″It’s been busy so far,″ said state police dispatcher Bonnie Pinkham. ″But we’ve been lucky - no major accidents.″
And in Augusta, Maine, the snow was not enough to deter about two dozen people eager to run off their turkey dinners ahead of time, as they trotted around the north end of the city for the annual Gasping Gobbler Road Race.
In the Northwest, numerous road closures were reported in Washington state after the second storm in a week left up to 12 inches of snow in the northwestern part of the state. Interstate 90, the state’s main east-west route, had to be closed for four hours Wednesday.
The 17.4 inches of snow so far this month at the Seattle-Tacoma airport has already broken this century’s November record of 13.7 inches, the weather service said.
But elsewhere, small stream flooding was reported in parts of West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania after heavy rain fell on already saturated ground.
More than 2 inches of rain fell on parts of West Virginia in 24 hours, on top of more than 3 inches that fell in the previous 24-hour period and forced about 700 people to evacuate in the northern part of the state.
Much of the state was hit hard three weeks ago by flooding that killed at least 38 people and caused at least $480 million in damage statewide.
In southern West Virginia, Beckley reached a record of 5.6 inches of rain for the month of November.
Some people also had to leave their homes in southern Pennsylvania, where Pittsburgh’s rainfall for the month reached 10.96, eclipsing the previous record one-month total of 10.25 inches set in June 1951, the weather service said.
Officials of eastern Ohio’s Belmont County asked the National Guard for help as crews worked Thursday to clear a highway blocked by mudslides for more than two days. The slides forced some families to evacuate when the mud washed down between Shadyside and Pawhatan Point.
In the South, thunderstorms spread across northern and central Alabama, dumping 2.6 inches of rain on Holt at the eastern edge of Tuscaloosa and causing wind damage to trees and small buildings near Montevallo.
An intense thunderstorm during the night ripped a four-story section of wall from a 12-story office building at Nashville, Tenn., but authorities said they didn’t know if it was struck by a tornado, lightning or strong wind.
″It began to rain real hard and then you could see the rain going in circles,″ said Dwight Gordon, a security guard at the building who saw what appeared to be a funnel cloud just before the wall was sheared off.
″When I saw that coming, I ran back behind a pillar and then I heard this boom.″
Alabama has had 20 days in a row with above normal temperatures, and North Carolina had records tied or broken Wednesday in four cities, including an 89- year-old record that fell in Charlotte to a high of 76, while Wilmington reached 80 degrees.
″Try and enjoy it as much as possible,″ Erv Evans, Wake County, N.C., agricultural extension horticulturist said of the warm spell. ″I’ve seen some rhododendrons in full bloom, vibernums, some close to full bloom. Hydrangea, a lot of them are loaded with blooms.″