Bitter cold front moves across Plains to Midwest, heads east

Sunday, December 18, 2016

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CHICAGO, USA (AP) — Dangerous, record-low temperatures caused cancellations of some holiday festivities in the Plains and Midwest over the weekend before the cold front pushed into the Ohio Valley and the Eastern Seaboard yesterday.


The National Weather Service forecast a warming trend to start early in the week in many spots as a quieter weather pattern was expected to develop.


Yesterday, temperatures plunged to minus 20 degrees and lower across much of the northern Plains with a fresh surge of bitter arctic air reaching into the Midwest.


A church in Lincoln, Nebraska, cancelled its living nativity scene. Patti Crittenden, Trinity United Methodist Church’s director of youth ministries, told the Lincoln Journal Star, "In my opinion, this is too cold for anyone to be standing outside — bundled up or not."


In suburban Chicago, an arboretum cancelled its holiday light show and a holiday gift market was cancelled in the Chicago suburb of Naperville.


Travellers were stranded and delayed as a blizzard shut down Interstate 90 in parts of Montana, yesterday. Authorities urged people to stay home to avoid endangering themselves and possible rescuers.


Weather-related delays at Indianapolis International Airport caused about 100 passengers to spend the night in the terminal, but most travellers were on their way Sunday morning.


Chicago police said a commercial plane slid off a runway early yesterday at O’Hare International Airport. There were no injuries reported from the incident just after 1:00 am.


Bismarck, North Dakota, posted a new record low for the date of December 17 with 31 degrees below zero on Saturday before midnight, said National Weather Service meteorologist Zachary Hargrove. Linton, North Dakota, was even colder at minus 33 degrees early yesterday.


In South Dakota, the city of Huron set a new low for yesterday’s date of minus 31 degrees. Another record fell in Marshall, Minnesota, where it was 31 below zero. Spencer, Iowa’s negative 27 degrees was also a record-breaker.


Colorado residents were digging out after up to 16 inches of snow fell across the state on Saturday, stranding motorists and leaving some areas of the state with sub-zero temperatures. The National Weather Service said the thermometer dipped to 27 degrees below zero in Limon. Breckenridge reported the most snow, with 16 inches that gave skiers and snowboarders the heavy snow they have been hoping for all season.


Snow and freezing rain led to numerous highway accidents, some serious. Perhaps the biggest accident was in Baltimore, when a tanker carrying gasolene skidded off a highway and exploded, killing two people and causing a nearly 70-vehicle pile-up on Interstate 95, authorities said. Hospital officials said nearly two dozen people were treated for injuries including broken bones and head trauma. A total of seven remained hospitalised yesterday with two in critical condition.


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