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Tuesday, 04 February 2014 03:23

Cabin fever sets in amid relentless cold, snow

   ST. LOUIS (AP) — T.J. Rutherford loves to golf, even in the winter. Just not this winter.
   With single-digit temperatures and sub-zero wind chills becoming the norm from the Midwest to the East Coast, often combined with snow or ice, the 59-year-old and his Illinois golfing buddies are no longer just bundling up. They're staying inside.
   "I'm on my third 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle," said Rutherford, who lives in Carterville, about 100 miles southeast of St. Louis. "I haven't done that in a long time."
  Cabin fever is setting in for countless Americans as bitter cold, heavy snowfall and paralyzing ice storms keep pounding a large swath of the country. School districts across two-thirds of the U.S. are reporting higher than normal numbers of snow days, while social service agencies are trying to work around the forecasts to get to people in need.
   Heavy snow was falling — again — in New York on Monday, and up to 8 inches of snow was expected Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo. Later this week, snow was forecast from the Plains to the East Coast, with no break in the cold.
   Some records have been broken — Detroit, for example, recorded 39.1 inches of snow in January, a record for the month — but the weather isn't especially unusual, said Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather. He said this winter seems worse because so many recent winters have been mild.
   "A lot of people probably are going a little stir crazy," he said. "But if you look at the broad picture, this is probably a once in 10- to 20-year winter. We were probably due for it a little bit."
   That isn't welcome news for those holed up at home, especially parents whose children keep racking up snow days.
   In Indiana, where some schools were closed for a full week in January because of the weather and road conditions, Joanne Kehoe has to entertain her four children, ages 2 through 8, when classes get cancelled in Indianapolis. She said it can be especially trying because her oldest is autistic and has a "tendency to bolt" if he is off his routine, so that limits where the family can go.
   It helps that her husband, an attorney, can often take time off work.
   "We usually divide and conquer," Kehoe said, acknowledging that shoveling snow while listening to e-books provides her "a little quiet time."
   Amy Murnan has been homebound with her four children — ages 8, 10, 12 and 13 — in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina on four snow days, an unusually large number for a region well-accustomed to tough winters. But she welcomes the break.
   "We're really busy and we spend most of the time running around to games and practices and lessons," Murnan said. "So it was actually kind of great for me to have nowhere to be and nothing to do. We don't get that very often."
   In suburban St. Louis, students in the Rockwood School District have already missed more than a week of school because of snow or ice. One snow day was called because it was too cold for the buses to start.
   "After the eighth snow day, even the kids were like, 'We're happy to be in school,'" district spokeswoman Cathy Orta said. "But safety is our first priority."
   The weather also has taxed communities' pocketbooks.
   St. Louis has already opened the city's main emergency homeless shelter more days than budgeted. In Kansas, county officials keep lists of people who live in areas that tend to become isolated in winter storms, and can enlist the National Guard to help if needed, said Sharon Watson, a spokeswoman for the state adjutant general.
   Programs that provide in-home services, such as Meals on Wheels, have had to plan around the forecasts. Sarah McKinney, who runs the program in Athens, Ga., said last week's ice storm forced the program to shut down for two days. Volunteers, aware of the forecast, provided boxed meals in advance, so the seniors had plenty to eat.
   The bigger concern, McKinney said, is that the volunteers weren't able to check on their clients.
   "We check on these people five to seven days a week and we're seeing them face-to-face," McKinney said. "We don't like to let two full business days pass."
Published in National News

Missouri Department of Transportation officials are advising Missourians to stay home during tomorrow's storm and have issued a "no travel advisory".

 

In a release, MoDOT says that once the storm arrives, travel will quickly become dangerous. A MoDOT engineer says that once the snow starts falling, it will be easier for plows to clear roads if there are fewer vehicles on the streets. This storm is expected to shape up much like heavy snow that fell last year.

 

MoDOT officials say the problems on roads were compounded last year when employers sent workers home early--the additional cars slowed traffic in many areas to a standstill.

Published in Local News
   Residents in the St. Louis area are bracing for the next round of winter weather.  Snow, cold and wind... the next winter storm will have a little bit of everything.
   Overnight, widely scattered snow showers are expected to spread across the metro area ahead of a blast of arctic air.  Up to an inch or two of accumulation is possible by Tuesday morning, especially along and east of the Mississippi River.  Farther south and west could see just a dusting.  
   Then temperatures will nose-dive, dropping into the mid-teens by 6:00 a.m. with wind chills around zero.  That's because of strong winds from the northwest.
   A Wind Advisory is in effect until 6:00 a.m.  Sustained winds of 20 TO 30 mph are expected during the early morning hours, with gusts up to 45 mph.  The strong winds could make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles and in areas were there's snow falling.
  By 1 a.m., transportation officials were reporting roads in northeastern Missouri as snow-covered, including portions of Interstate 70 through Warren and Montgomery Counties.  Most roads in St. Charles and St. Louis Counties were reported to be partially snow covered.  Current road conditions can be found on MoDOT's traveler website
   Illinois officials report roads and highways in central and northern Illinois are snow covered.  Current conditions can be found on IDOT's winter road conditions website
 
 
 
Published in Local News

The weather may be pleasant Monday afternoon, but that is about to change.

 

Snow is expected to arrive late tonight with some areas seeing up to two inches of snow. Temperatures are also expected to drop, with wind chills as low as ten-below Tuesday.

 

In anticipation of the weather, St. Louis street crews are already out treating the pavement. 

Published in Local News
Thursday, 09 January 2014 03:20

STL City parking meters free this week

   If you normally feed the meter when you park in the City of St. Louis, there is good news — at least for a few days.  Parking meter violations won't be enforced this week.  

   Because of the snow, the St. Louis Treasurer's office isn't issuing parking tickets.  

   They're also not ticketing drivers who park on snow routes because the city didn't declare a snow emergency.

   Parking meter enforcement will resume in the city on Monday.

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Forecasters are urging Missourians to brace for a wicked round of winter weather that's about to hit.

The National Weather Service said Friday that a winter storm could dump nearly a foot of snow on the St. Louis region over the weekend, with significant but lesser amounts elsewhere.

Bitter cold is coming, too, with readings well below zero Sunday night and Monday night. Wind chills could reach as low as minus-35 degrees.

The weather service said Saturday is expected to start off mild, with temperatures in the 40s. Then a nasty cold front arrives. Rain will turn into snow starting Saturday and it will continue into Sunday. Several inches are also possible in southern Missouri, and about 5 inches is projected in mid-Missouri.

Published in Local News
   BOSTON (AP) — A blustering post-Christmas snowstorm that has dropped nearly 2 feet of snow just north of Boston, shut down major highways in New York and forced U.S. airlines to cancel thousands of flights nationwide is continuing its bitter cold journey through the Northeast.
   The brutal weather — which brought plummeting temperatures to some areas that forecasters predicted could see highs just above zero and wind chill readings of minus 10 degrees and colder by early Friday — dumped 21 inches of snow in Boxford, Mass., late Thursday night and 18 inches in parts of western New York near Rochester. In Central Park early Friday, the National Weather Service said just over 3 inches of snow had fallen.
   The snowfall, frigid cold and stiff winds extended Christmas break for some students while posing the first test for New York City's new mayor and perhaps the last challenge for Boston's outgoing one.
   U.S. airlines canceled more than 2,300 flights due to snowfall and low visibility.
   "It's been a tough road," said traveler Heather Krochuk, of Toronto, Canada, inside a Boston hotel Thursday night after her flight home out of Logan International Airport got canceled in what's turned into a 36-hour trip from Seattle, where she spent Christmas with her husband, Ron.
   But, she said, "we have a place to sleep that isn't the airport."
   Snow began falling overnight Wednesday in parts of New England and New York state, but the brunt of the storm began late Thursday.
   The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for Cape Cod, coastal areas north and south of Boston and part of Maine as well as New York's Long Island.
   Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said state offices that closed early Thursday would remain closed on Friday. He said National Guard members and state police were on standby for any high tide flooding in vulnerable coastal areas, but no mandatory evacuations had been ordered.
   New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered three major highways in his state, stretching from Long Island to Albany, closed overnight. The highways were expected to reopen at 5 a.m. Friday.
   As of late Thursday in Connecticut, about 3 inches of snow had fallen in Hartford County, and 3 inches were reported in East Hartford and Simsbury. Parts of New Hampshire had 5.5 inches, and areas of Rhode Island had more than 2.
   Outreach teams looked to get homeless people off the frigid streets of New York City and Boston.
   Staff members at the Pine Street Inn were keeping the Boston shelter open 24 hours and said they would turn no one away, even if it meant setting up extra cots in lobbies and other common areas.
   The heavy weather began rolling in just a day after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was sworn in to lead the nation's largest city and a few days before Boston Mayor Thomas Menino ends 20 years in office on Monday.
   De Blasio, who as public advocate in 2010 criticized his predecessor Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his handling of a large snowstorm, dispatched hundreds of plows and salt spreaders on the streets as soon as the snow started falling Thursday night. Forecasters said that while only 3 inches of snow had fallen in Central Park by early Friday, up to 8 inches were still expected in the city.
   "If you don't need to go out, please don't go out," de Blasio said at a press conference Thursday evening, urging residents to use mass transit. "Stay off the streets, stay out of your cars."
   Across the region, state and local police were busy responding to accidents and reports of stranded vehicles.
   Amtrak planned to run trains on all of its Northeast lines on Friday but operate on a modified schedule, spokeswoman Christina Leeds said.
   As the storm approached, a worker at a suburban Philadelphia salt storage facility was killed when a 100-foot-tall pile of road salt fell and crushed him. Falls Township police said the man was trapped while operating a backhoe. There was no word on what may have caused the accident.
   Douglass Bibule shopped for rock salt and other supplies at a home improvement store in Watertown, N.Y.
   "Well, there will be some shoveling that I will have to do and some sanding," he said. "I've got to go home and do some stretching exercises to make sure I don't hurt myself while doing that, and do a little shopping to make sure that we have all the supplies that we need. We need food because we have three older children at home."
   The snowstorm worked its way east from the Midwest, where it dropped up to a foot of snow on Michigan and more than a foot in parts of Illinois, prompting the cancellation Thursday of hundreds of flights at both Chicago airports.
   Nearly 17 inches of snow fell in some of Chicago's northern suburbs, and more than 12 inches of snow was recorded at Midway International Airport.
Published in National News
Friday, 03 January 2014 02:42

Alton man dies after clearing snow

   St. Louis' extremely cold winter weather has claimed the life of an Alton, Illinois man.  

   Police say 66 year old Carl Walker had been removing snow with a snow blower outside his home Thursday morning when he became short of breath.  He went inside and his wife called 9-1-1.  

   Walker was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he died.  

   Madison County Coroner Stephen Nonn says Walker suffered a heart attack.  

   Nonn says its important for everyone, especially those with heart and other health conditions to use extra caution in cold conditions.

Published in Local News
Friday, 03 January 2014 02:18

STL bracing for extreme winter weather

   St. Louis is seeing some of the harshest winter weather of the last couple of years.  Snow followed by bitterly cold temperatures seems to be a repeating pattern.  

   Snow is expected again Saturday night into Sunday, with 6-7 inches of accumulation possible.  

   That will be followed by historically cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills.  Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in St. Louis say it could be the coldest weather the metro area has seen in the last 20 years.  

   Low temperatures are expected to fall to zero or below both Monday and Tuesday mornings.  Daytime highs won't get out of the single digits and wind chills are expected to be 15-25 degrees below zero from Sunday through Tuesday. 

   Average highs and low temperatures for St. Louis in early January are 40 and 24.
Published in Local News
NEW YORK (AP) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says some major highways around New York City will be shut down as a coastal storm brings snow and blizzard conditions to the region.
 
Cuomo says Interstate 84 in the Hudson Valley will be closed to commercial traffic starting at 5 p.m. Thursday and to all traffic at midnight. He says the Long Island Expressway will be closed at midnight on most of the island. The New York Thruway also will be closed from Albany south at midnight.
 
Cuomo says plans are for the highways to reopen at 5 a.m. Friday, but a decision will be made by 4 a.m.
 
The governor also declared a state of emergency Thursday and urged people to "seriously consider" staying home.
 
He says mass transit isn't expected to be hampered.
Published in National News
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