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Major Storm Socks Midwest, Spreading Into Northeast; Tornado in Florida

January 3, 1996

A storm that punched through the nation’s midsection with up to a foot of snow spread its misery eastward today, icing highways and setting off a tornado in Florida.

Snow fell today from the Ohio Valley into southern Maine, with accumulations up to a foot possible. Wind blowing at up to 50 mph piled the snow into two-foot drifts in Cleveland.

The temperature fell to a record 25 below zero this morning at Caribou, Maine. Northern Minnesota was even colder, with lows of 33 below zero at Ely and 29 below at Hibbing.

Schools were closed because of bad roads this morning from Missouri into Maine.

In upstate New York, 13 inches of snow was reported at Utica. As much as 10 inches had fallen by this morning in central Indiana, with 9 inches in Illinois and 8 in central Pennsylvania. Up to a foot had fallen since late Monday in Missouri.

Snow-packed, icy roads stalled travelers in the Midwest.

``Every room in town was booked, and they set up a shelter at the Presbyterian church down the way for people who couldn’t get a room,″ said Matt Nelson, night auditor at a motel in Mattoon, Ill.

Some 75 to 100 people had to spend the night at a school in Indiana’s Shelby County after a tractor-trailer rig got stuck and blocked a highway. About 300 Greyhound bus passengers were stuck at a terminal in Columbus, Ohio.

``It’s unusual for Indianapolis to have two heavy snows in a winter, let alone in two weeks,″ said National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Sherrieb. The area got an ice storm followed by 7 to 8 inches of snow on Dec. 19.

Boston’s Logan airport closed for 30 minutes for snow removal and Cleveland’s airport was closed for two hours. Nonemergency car travel was banned today in a dozen of Ohio’s hardest-hit counties.

Along the system’s southeastern edge, thunderstorms rolled across Florida this morning and a tornado skipped through Miami’s southwestern suburbs. At least four people were injured.

Elsewhere, another storm system produced snow in the northern Rockies. Scattered showers were forecast in the Northwest.

The nation’s hot spot Tuesday was Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at 87 degrees. This morning’s coldest reading was the 33 below zero at Ely, Minn.

Today’s highs were predicted in the teens in New England and the northern Plains, the 20s in the Northeast and central Plains, the 40s in the mid-Atlantic states, the 50s in the South, Southeast and Northwest. Readings could top 70 in southern Florida and the desert Southwest.

Other reports at 5 a.m. EST (atmospheric conditions not available for some cities):

_East: Albany, N.Y., 8 snow; Atlanta 39 cloudy; Boston 25 snow; Buffalo 14 snow; Charleston, S.C., 58 fair; Chattanooga 37 cloudy; Cincinnati 17 snow; Cleveland 21 snow; Detroit 16 snow; Jacksonville 58 fair; Key West 77 thunderstorm; Knoxville 38 wind; Macon 46 cloudy; Miami 77 cloudy; New York 31 freezing rain; Philadelphia 32 rain; Pittsburgh 30 foggy; Portland, Maine, 9 snow; Richmond 41 foggy; Tampa 62 cloudy; Washington 36 drizzle.

_Central: Birmingham 37 cloudy; Bismarck 9 snow; Chicago 24 wind; Denver 28; Des Moines 6; Fort Worth 32 cloudy; Indianapolis 16 snow; Kansas City 18 cloudy; Little Rock 33 cloudy; Louisville 20 snow; Memphis 29 cloudy; Nashville 29 cloudy; New Orleans 41 cloudy; North Platte 17 cloudy; Oklahoma city 29 cloudy; Rapid City 21 cloudy; St. Louis 19 partly cloudy; Minneapolis-St. Paul 0 fair; Marquette 6 snow; San Antonio 31.

_West: Albuquerque 23; Anchorage 17 partly cloudy; Boise 44 wind; Casper 29 wind; Fairbanks -2 cloudy; Great Falls 42; Honolulu 68; Las Vegas 37; Los Angeles 53; Medford 36 foggy; Pendleton 48 cloudy; Phoenix 44; Portland, Ore., 51 rain; Reno 30; Salt Lake City 36 cloudy; San Diego 51; San Francisco 49; Seattle 48 wind; Spokane 38 cloudy.

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