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Sunday, 02 March 2014 22:15

STL Co. offices opening late on Monday

   The snow is expected to slow traffic Monday morning, and its affecting some government functions.  

   St Louis County offices will not open until 10 a.m Monday. And jurors for the 21st circuit are asked to wait until 10 a.m. to report. 

   Please check the county government website at stlouisco.com for updates.

Published in Local News
   Here we go again.  After a warm and spring like Sunday afternoon, winter is returning to the St. Louis area with a vengence.
 
   About 3:00 Monday morning, the National Weather Service in St. Louis canceled a wind advisory that had been set to expire at 6 a.m.  Winds had dropped to between 15 and 25 mph with gust up to 35 mph, below the threshold for an advisory. 
 
   Nevertheless, the strong northwest winds are pushing a powerful arctic cold front through the region.  Wind chills are still expected to dip below zero by morning.  Some schools have already cancelled classes for Monday.
 
   The wind is being blamed for causing spotty power outages across the St. Louis metro area.  As of 3 a.m., Ameren is reporting more than 3,300 St. Louis area customers without power -- about 1,000 in Missouri.  The rest are in the metro-east, most in St. Clair County.  That's down from nearly 9,000 around midnight. 
 
 
Published in Local News
   With dangerous sub-zero wind chills back in the St. Louis area, city officials are scrambling to fund an overflow shelter for the homeless that's already blown its budget.  
   The mayor's office says the community center at Tucker and Park costs about $1000 a night to keep open.  It provides shelter for 125 people.  The city's budget allotted for 20 days of operation this winter.  But because of the unusual amount of cold and snow, the shelter has already been open for 27 days, and the winter is only half over.  
   St. Louis Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff told Fox 2 News that the budget can't dictate the city's response to the cold.  "Mayor Slay has made it very clear," Siedhoff said.  "This is a necessity.  We will find the money.  We will find it some place.  We have to.  It’s a responsibility the city has."
   Siedhoff says the shelter will remain open as long as the extreme weather continues.
 
Published in Local News
   BOSTON (AP) — Snow blowers whirred and shovels scraped across sidewalks as the Northeast tried to keep up with a winter storm that swirled up the coast, creating blizzard conditions on Cape Cod, disrupting government work in Washington and leaving behind it bitter Canadian cold that sapped fuel supplies.
   The huge storm stretched from Kentucky to New England but hit hardest along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston. Snow began falling midmorning Tuesday in Philadelphia and had dumped as much as 13.5 inches by midnight, with New York seeing almost as much. Manalapan, N.J., had the highest snowfall reading with 16 inches.
   The storm, which dropped nearly a foot of snow in parts of Massachusetts, promised to create headaches for motorists in Boston on Wednesday morning. Commuters in Philadelphia and New York had packed early trains or spent hours inching along roads in swirling darkness to get home the night before.
   The New Yorkers and Bostonians who normally swarm Cape Cod in fishing hats or bikinis in July and August wouldn't recognize it this week. A blizzard warning through Wednesday afternoon kept business brisk at Aubuchon Hardware in Sandwich, where salt and snow shovels were popular.
   "The flow of customers is pretty steady, but everyone waits until the worst of the storm to start worrying," manager Jeff Butland said.
   Boston ordered schools closed Wednesday, following the lead the day before of many districts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. Federal workers in Washington also got a snow day Tuesday.
   Nearly 3,000 commercial flights were canceled Tuesday into and out of some of the nation's busiest airports, including in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, where Logan Airport advised passengers to expect extremely limited domestic service at least through Wednesday morning.
   At New York's LaGuardia Airport, congested even on a good day, a television monitor displayed a litany of canceled flights. Crowds of people who had been hoping to fly out instead gathered around ticket counters trying to make alternate arrangements.
   "We don't expect to get out here till 6 p.m. maybe, tomorrow," Paula Black said Tuesday after her flight to Chicago was canceled.
   Amtrak told passengers on its busiest line, the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, to expect fewer trains. Lines serving Harrisburg, Pa., and Albany, N.Y., also were slowed.
   The storm put a damper on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's inauguration, forcing the cancellation of a Tuesday evening gala on Ellis Island. In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick postponed his annual State of the State address, saying he was worried about guests trying to get to the Statehouse.
   On I-95, one of the nation's busiest highways, traffic was bumper to bumper Tuesday evening north of New York City, where some people simply gave up and tried to navigate side streets, creating another traffic jam in suburban New Rochelle.
   "I just want to get to the Bronx," Peter Neuwens said. "It's a big place. Why can't I get there?"
   The storm was a conventional one that developed off the coast and moved its way up the Eastern Seaboard, pulling in cold air from the Arctic. Unlike the epic freeze of two weeks ago, it was not caused by a kink in the polar vortex, the winds that circulate around the North Pole.
   Nonetheless, overnight temperatures in the single digits were expected in Philadelphia and New York, with wind chills dipping into the negative teens.
   The newest wave of cold air helped to deplete fuel supplies and send prices for propane and natural gas to record highs. Higher natural gas prices also are leading to sharply higher wholesale electricity prices as power utilities snap up gas at almost any price to run power plants to meet higher-than-normal winter demand.
   Propane users will get pinched the most. Those who find themselves suddenly needing to fill their tanks could be paying $100 to $200 more per fill-up than a month ago. Homeowners who use natural gas and electricity will see higher heating bills because they'll use more fuel. But prices won't rise dramatically because utilities buy only a small portion of the fuel at the elevated prices.
   The storm was blamed for at least one death in Maryland, after a car fishtailed into the path of a tractor-trailer on a snow-covered road about 50 miles northwest of Baltimore and the car's driver was ejected. Police said the storm might have claimed more lives: A preliminary investigation showed wet conditions played a role in a two-vehicle crash that killed two people in Prince George's County, Md.
Published in National News

   SHAWNEE, OK (AP) - Hearing on the radio that a violent storm was approaching her rural Oklahoma neighborhood, Lindsay Carter took advantage of the advanced warning, gathered her belongings and fled. When she returned, there was little left of the community she called home.

   Several tornadoes struck parts of the nation's midsection Sunday, concentrating damage in central Oklahoma and Wichita, Kan. One person was killed near Shawnee, Okla., and 21 injuries were reported throughout the state.

   Victims and emergency responders might not get much of reprieve as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center was forecasting similar weather for Monday over much of the same area.

   The worst of the damage Sunday appeared to be at the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park located amid gently rolling hills about 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.

   "It took a dead hit," resident James Hoke said. Emerging from a storm cellar where he sought refuge with his wife and two children, Hoke found that their mobile home had vanished. "Everything is gone."

   Hoke said he started trying to help neighbors and found his wife's father covered in rubble.

   "My father-in-law was buried under the house. We had to pull Sheetrock off of him," Hoke said.

   Forecasters had been warning of bad weather since last Wednesday and on Sunday said conditions had ripened for powerful tornadoes. Wall-to-wall broadcasts of storm information spread the word Sunday, leaving Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth grateful.

   "There was a possibility a lot more people could have been injured," Booth said. "This is the worst I've seen in Pottawatomie County in my 25 years of law enforcement."

   Carter had heard on a radio broadcast that a storm that had originated southwest of Oklahoma City was headed toward Shawnee.

   "We got in the truck and left," Carter said. With upward of 30 minutes' notice for Pottawatomie County, Carter had time to leave one of the few frame homes in Steelman Estates — and most of her house was intact when she returned.

   "I walked up, and the house was OK. Part of the roof was gone," she said.

   The scene was different a short distance away.

   "Trees were all gone. I walked further down and all those houses were gone," she said.

   Booth said a 79-year-old man was found dead out in the open at Steelman Estates, but the sheriff didn't have details on where he had lived.

   "You can see where there's absolutely nothing, then there are places where you have mobile home frames on top of each other, debris piled up," Booth said. "It looks like there's been heavy equipment in there on a demolition tour.

   "It's pretty bad. It's pretty much wiped out," he said.

   Tornadoes were reported Sunday in Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma as part of a storm system that stretched from Texas to Minnesota.

   Following the Oklahoma twisters, local emergency officials went from home site to home site in an effort to account for everyone. Keli Cain, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, said that, many times in such situations, people who are not found immediately are discovered later to have left the area ahead of the storm.

   A storm spotter told the National Weather Service that the tornado left the earth "scoured" at the mobile home park. At the nearby intersection of Interstate 40 and U.S. 177, a half-dozen tractor-trailers were blown over, closing both highways for a time.

 
Published in National News
BOSTON (AP) - Schools across New England have closed and thousands of flights have been scratched as the Northeast hunkers down for a storm poised to dump up to 2 feet of snow.

The snow is expected to start this morning, with the heaviest amounts falling at night and into Saturday. Wind gusts could reach 75 mph. Widespread power failures were feared, along with flooding in coastal areas still recovering from Superstorm Sandy in October.

Boston could get more than 2 feet of snow, while New York City was expecting 10 to 14 inches. To the south, Philadelphia was looking at a possible 4 to 6 inches.

Amtrak says its Northeast trains will stop running this afternoon.

In New England, it could prove to be among the top 10 snowstorms in history.
Published in National News
Thursday, 07 February 2013 04:37

New England braces for major snow storm

BOSTON (AP) - A major winter storm heading toward New England could dump as much as 2 feet of snow on the region.

The National Weather Service says the storm is expected to begin Friday morning and continue into Saturday night as it moves past New England and upstate New York.

A blizzard watch for parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island says travel may become nearly impossible because of high winds and blowing snow. A coastal flood watch is in effect for some shore communities.

Operators of some ski areas in Massachusetts are excited by the prospect of the first major snowstorm they've seen since October 2011. Christopher Kitchin, inside operations manager at Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, Mass., says people are eager to go skiing, snow-tubing and snowboarding.
Published in National News

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