First Day of Spring Cold and Snowy in Midwest
Undated (AP) _ Snow and a blustery blast of frigid air heralded the arrival of spring as temperatures plummeted from the freezing upper Midwest into Texas.
″The sun is shining. That’s the only thing that looks springlike,″ said Gary Fichter, a maintenance supervisor at a golf course in Ann Arbor, Mich., where it was about 20 degrees and a brisk northwest wind was blowing.
The overnight low fell to 11 below zero at Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where nearly 30 inches of snow has fallen since Tuesday and strong winds made it feel like 43 degrees below zero.
The cold was a blessing for northwestern New York, where floods due to snow melting in milder weather Tuesday and Wednesday apparently claimed the lives of two men and caused an estimated $1.7 million in damage in five counties, officials said.
South Carolina and Georgia recovered from a tornado and high winds Wednesday that injured at least 16 people.
Spring officially begins at 5:03 p.m. EST today, but ″we’re going to miss it this time around,″ meteorologist Tom Fendon said in Michigan, where temperatures are expected to stay below 40 degrees into Sunday.
Scattered snow fell today from southern Michigan and Indiana through the lower Great Lakes.
In Indiana, a man was crushed to death when hit by a skidding truck while trying to help two stranded motorists on icy Interstate 80 Tuesday night, one of scores of accidents reported in the state as up to two inches of snow fell.
Gale warnings were posted for Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, and nearly all the Gulf Coast and East Coast except Florida and Georgia as brisk, northerly winds pushed cold air across much of the East.
Wind chills below zero were common in upper Mississippi Valley states, the uppper Great Lakes and upstate New York. The southern Plains also shivered in unseasonable cold, and temperatures were in the 30s and 40s in much of Texas.
In northwestern New York, minor flooding was expected in areas along the Mohawk River and Schoharie Creek.
The Mohawk was expected to crest just above flood stage at Schnectady, said Ken LaPenta of the weather service’s Albany office. The Schoharie was receding today, but was 1 1/2 feet over flood stage below the Gilboa Dam.
The state Office of Emergency Management on Wednesday estimate flood damage at about $1.7 million in a five-county area. Gov. Mario Cuomo has asked federal authorities to declare the region a disaster area.
Two men reported missing Saturday died apparently due to flooding, officials said.
The body of Keith A. Nordlie, 44, of Schenectady, was found near the Mohawk in Rotterdam on Tuesday. Floodwaters apparently swept Nordlie into the river while he was snowshoeing, said Schenectady County Medical Examiner Robert Sullivan.
A day later and 60 miles to the northwest, the body of John Hess, 25, of Gilbertsville was found in Oneonta. Hess apparently fell into a flooded tributary of the Susquehanna River after leaving a party, said police Sgt. Carl Shedlock.
The Great Lakes area storm caused scattered power outages and knocked out electricity to about 2,000 customers in the Marquette, Mich., area. Officials expected to restore power in Marquette sometime today.
The storm also closed Northern Marquette University and secondary schools in Marquette County.
A tornado packing winds up to 160 mph hit suburbs northwest of Atlanta on Wednesday, injuring 15 people, including a family of three who were trapped in the rubble of their house. The 12 others were injured in auto accidents on Interstate 75, said Kennestone Hospital spokeswoman Leslie Kelly.
The twister damaged 100 homes, causing losses estimated by the weather service at $10 million to $20 million, and damaged buildings in the Cobb Industrial Park.
In South Carolina, thunderstorm-spawned winds up to 60 mph knocked at least nine mobile homes off their foundations in the northwest city of Perry, caused scattered power outages and apparently contributed to a wreck in coastal North Charleston in which a man was seriously injured, officials said.