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Rare Winter Snow Melts in South; Refreezing Causes Minor Problems

January 20, 1992

Undated (AP) _ Southerners hurried outside with cameras to capture a rare snowfall before it vanished today. Ice from melting snow refreezing on roadways caused minor problems this morning.

In Columbus, Ohio, police searched for the mother of a newborn girl who was left outside a hospital Saturday as the wind chill dropped to minus 1.

And in western Pennsylvania, a snowstorm brought accumulations of up to 4 inches by late this morning. There were at least two deaths from traffic accidents on slippery roads.

In Georgia, where the biggest snowstorm since 1983 dumped up to 8 inches south and east of Atlanta, major roads had been cleared, but temperatures dipping into the 20s caused ice this morning.

″It’s black ice. You can’t see it,″ said Fayette County Sheriff Randall Johnson. Georgia Power spokesman Tal Wright said some scattered power outages were caused by autos sliding into utility poles.

But Scott Eubanks, a radio operator with the state transportation department, said ice on bridges and in low-lying areas caused no major problems.

″In fact,″ he said, ″our worst problem is in a couple of places where we’ve had calls stemming from car fires - the fire trucks put out the fire, and the water was freezing on the roads.″

Today’s highs were expected in the 50s, probably enough to melt most or all of the remaining weekend snow.

Lows were expected to dip into the mid-20s tonight in Mississippi, where five people were killed on the state’s roads during Sunday’s wintery weather.

Snowmen and snow families popped up in the Atlanta area Saturday and Sunday.

″I’ve got to hurry up and get some things inside to put on it and take a picture before it melts,″ said Brett Benninghoff, a Lawrenceville swimming pool contractor, who built his first snowman Sunday.

″We sold a lot of film,″ said Carolyn Dickinson, manager of the Majik Market in Hampton.

In Alabama, 7 inches of snow began melting Sunday in the central part of the state, where tow truck services were swamped with calls from cars stranded on icy roads.

″They’re sliding off left and right,″ said Sherry Tillery, co-owner of Tillery’s Wrecker Service in Talladega. ″These people won’t get in and stay in.″

Waitresses at the Waffle House on Interstate 65 north of Montgomery spent Saturday night at a motel near the restaurant to keep it open all night, said waitress Reginia Trice.

Jim Snyder, of the Jimmie Hale Mission in Birmingham, said the storm drove about 90 homeless people into the 125-bed shelter by Sunday.

In International Falls, Minn., participants in Icebox Days hit frozen softballs atop a frozen lake. Rosy-cheeked residents of the Canadian border town 300 miles north of Minneapolis began the annual event about 12 years ago to celebrate their reputation as ″The Icebox of the Nation.″

The 10-day festival opened Friday and Saturday with temperatures hovering well below zero. Events included an ice-hole drilling contest.

In Ohio, hospital workers found a baby just a day or two old in a car seat Saturday night outside the Urgent Medical Care center in Columbus, police said. The infant was hospitalized in fair condition.