Winter Storm Arrives Early

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Thanksgiving plans are still weeks in the future, and leaves still cling to some trees, but a late autumn storm has many cities across the U.S. fighting the effects of wintry weather. Temperatures across the country have plunged and in the Upper Midwest four people lost their lives as an early winter storm results in two feet of early snowfall.

In Minnesota warnings of icy conditions came too late for many. Parts of St. Paul approached 18 inches by Tuesday afternoon and the State Patrol reported over 1,100 crashes and road spinouts on Monday. While the storm continued to wreck havoc in the area through Tuesday no new numbers have yet been reported. The ice slicked roads were named as the cause of four deaths as commuters scrambled to get to work or return home.

On Monday, a temperature drop of 30 degrees in 30 minutes left even life long residents of Denver shivering. Defined by many as a Blue Northern the storm didn’t leave the Rockies without some precipitation, and in Colorado Springs the temperatures dropped 50 degrees. Forecasters are expecting to see some records made in Denver over Wednesday as the cold continues to deepen in Colorado. The high in Denver could be as low as 5 degrees.

The winter blast travelled across the Canadian Border and managed to plunge the temperatures all the way to the Gulf of Mexico in just two days. This isn’t as some might think the first time an early storm of this type has left residents of the U.S. unprepared despite winter planning. On Tuesday, November 11th 1911 the temperature in Springfield Missouri dropped from a then record high of 80 degrees to record low of only 13 degrees. On the same day Oklahoma dropped from 83 to 17 degrees. That storm brought tornadoes that killed 13 in the Midwestern U.S. and a blizzard in Ohio. Some who sought underground shelter from tornadoes required rescue to dig out of these hiding places by that morning.

This cold snap while serious isn’t as drastic as the 1911 event. In Austin where the temp dropped quickly during Tuesday afternoon could still see even colder temperatures by early Thursday morning. While the city was gearing up for a potentially cold winter, the early storm had some such as the Townlake Animal Center struggling to keep dogs warm. The center is hoping for donations toward fix a heating system before the next wave of cold weather can arrive. As the fix for the central heating would cost an estimated $10,000 the nonprofit center is currently using space heaters to keep the animals as warm as possible.

In Portland Oregon utility managers are hoping to “ease the inconvenience” of power outages during winter storms with some tips. These tips include staying way from downed power lines, and use fireplaces or woodstoves to keep warm.

 


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