January 18, 1997 in Nation/World

Bitter Winds Send Icy Chill Across Nation

Associated Press

On a typical snow day, Katie O’Shei, Sarah Ballard and Vanessa Jones probably would be out sledding.

This was no typical day.

With winds gusting up to 35 mph - making it feel like minus 40 degrees - the three teenagers used their day off from school Friday to play pool and eat Spaghetti-O’s at Sarah’s house.

“It’s better than school,” said 14-year-old Katie. “But it’s not that much fun because nobody will let us do anything.”

Snow and freezing rain - but mostly ferocious winds and frigid temperatures - forced hundreds of schools to close in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Oregon.

By early afternoon, the temperature along the Alabama coast was 10 degrees, while the wind chill reached a numbing 50 below zero at Lakeville, Minn. In the blizzard-weary Dakotas, the early afternoon temperature was minus 13 degrees at Williston, N.D., and minus 3 at Aberdeen, S.D.

The cold snap should end soon as a thaw was expected to gradually sweep eastward across the country. After another cold night Friday, temperatures should begin to warm up today, and could reach the 50s in South Dakota by Sunday.

In North Dakota, which has had five blizzards already this winter, the sun came out - and so did the shoppers.

“The mall is a zoo right now,” said Jim Ross, manager of the West Acres shopping mall in Fargo. “Obviously, people are anxious to get out of their homes. A lot of them have cabin fever.”

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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