Deep South Put Into Deep Freeze
Undated (AP) _ Low temperature records were tied or broken Sunday in 22 cities from upstate New York to Florida, and Louisiana got a second rare snowfall in three days.
The record chill was produced by a combination of arctic air, light wind, and a lack of clouds to hold in warmth during the night. The arctic air mass was expected to loose its grip over the South and East and move over the Atlantic Ocean by Monday.
But a new cold front was moving southeastward across the Great Lakes and mid-Mississippi Valley with strong northwesterly wind. Wind behind the front gusted more than 30 mph over Minnesota, causing wind chills as low as 45 below zero.
Ahead of the front, southwesterly wind blowing at up to 40 mph caused extensive blowing and drifting of snow across a large part of southern Michigan.
Record lows were 24 at Apalachicola, Fla.; 5 at Asheville, N.C.; 5 at Atlantic City, N.J.; 9 at Baltimore; 22 at Baton Rouge, La.; 12 at Birmingham, Ala.; 15 at El Dorado, Ark.; 11 at Greer, S.C.; 12 at Huntsville, Ala.; 12 at Jackson, Miss.; 25 at Jacksonville, Fla.; 26 at Lake Charles, La.; 6 at Lynchburg, Va.; 5 at Mansfield, Ohio; 13 at Meridian, Miss.; 7 at Pinson, Ala.; 3 below zero at Pittsburgh; 9 at Richmond, Va.; and 3 below zero at Youngstown, Ohio.
Records were tied at Binghamton, N.Y., where it reached 5 below zero; at Cleveland, 3 below zero; and Columbia, S.C., 15.
The body of a homeless man who apparently died died of hypothermia was found Sunday in the posh Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., police said; the low at National Airport was 12 degrees. Two deaths in the Chicago area late last week were attributed at least partly to exposure to the cold, and a woman whose car got stuck died of exposure in North Dakota.
In Louisiana, 2 to 3 inches of snow fell by midday at Cameron with about 1.5 inches at Lake Charles, the greatest accumulation there since January 1973.
The snow created hazardous driving conditions over southern Louisiana, prompting the closing of some bridges and Interstate 10 east of Lafayette and the Interstate system in Baton Rouge.
Earlier in the day, snow also fell over a large section of eastern Texas, with 3 inches at Cleveland, 2 to 3 inches in Farrar and Conroe, and 1 inch at Coldspring. Snow even fell as far south as Victoria.
Buffalo, N.Y., got its greatest one-day snowfall total in three years Saturday with up to 16 inches, and wind gusting to 30 mph produced blinding whiteouts. Sections of the New York State Thruway were closed for the first time this winter, and there was a 40-car pileup on the thruway just outside Buffalo.
Temperatures at 2 p.m. EST ranged from 4 degrees below zero at International Falls, Minn., to 79 at Thermal, Calif. The low for the day was 30 degrees below zero at Gunnison, Colo.
For Monday, snow or snow showers were forecast from Montana across most of the northern Plains to the western Great Lakes, with the snow most likely from Montana to Minnesota; and light rain over central and northern Florida and over coastal sections of Washington and Oregon, gradually spreading into eastern Washington, with rain or snow reaching northern Oregon.
Highs below freezing were predicted from eastern Montana across the Ohio Valley to the northern Atlantic Coast; in the 50s and 60s from Florida across the Gulf Coast to southern Texas and from southern New Mexico, California and western Nevada to coastal Washington and Oregon; above 70 over southern California and southwestern Arizona; and in the 30s and 40s elsewhere.