Midwest Gripped by Record Cold, Heavy Snowfall

From Associated Press

Record cold Saturday followed record snowfall in the Midwest, where football games were canceled, emergency snowmobile brigades delivered food and medicine and more than 200 people spent the night in a Minnesota mall.

A ridge of arctic high pressure stretched from Canada into the south-central United States, driving down temperatures. The snow forced the closure of several highways across the Midwest. Blizzards raged in parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Record cold temperatures settled in on Nebraska. Low temperature records included 9 degrees in Omaha, 2 degrees in North Platte and minus 2 in Scottsbluff. Those records had stood for 40 years.

Wind gusts of 40 m.p.h. and combined with low temperatures to produce windchills, the way cold feels to the skin, of 40 below in western Nebraska.

At least seven weather-related deaths have been reported since the storms began last week. There were no reports of deaths Saturday.

In Duluth, Minn., where nearly three feet of snow had fallen by late Saturday, residents relied on a volunteer snowmobile brigade to bring them urgently needed baby food and prescriptions.

In Albert Lea, Minn., more than 200 people escaping a blizzard spent the night in a mall, the only place in town with heat and electricity.

Blizzards produced 30 m.p.h. to 45 m.p.h. winds and near zero visibility Saturday in western Minnesota.

In North Dakota, wind gusted to 45 m.p.h., whipping snow into drifts that blocked some roads.

All college football games in the North Central Conference were canceled in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota on Saturday because of the snow and cold.

In Boston, the American Red Cross estimated it would spend $1.4 million helping nearly 3,000 New England families affected by last week's Atlantic storm, blamed for at least four deaths on the East Coast.

Families who lost their homes or suffered extensive damage in the storm can go to the Red Cross centers for food, clothing, medical supplies and temporary housing.

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