77 Inches of Snow in 1 Day Set Record for Cream Cheese Capital

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

The village of Montague in upstate New York celebrated a U.S. record Friday for the most snowfall in a single day: Nearly 6 1/2 feet fell during a storm.

The record 77 inches came down during a 24-hour period in the middle of a massive storm that dropped a total of 95 inches on the town last weekend. National Weather Service meteorologists in Buffalo certified the record.

Just 64 people live in the town, the nation’s leading producer of Philadelphia brand cream cheese.


But its new notoriety has been drawing a steady stream of gawkers to its towering snowbanks and buried houses.

Three men stood atop each other’s shoulders to reach the peak of one snow pile this week, smiling for a photographer.

Jane Clift, who runs the Montague Inn, said that people are “just in awe of what they see. People just cannot believe it.”

Mounds of snow taller than a two-story house are everywhere in Montague, creating a giant frozen hedge around the hamlet 60 miles north of Syracuse. Roads are lined by walls of white rising 12 feet high.

The residents decided to commemorate the record by sending a case of cream cheese packed in snow to Silver Lake, Colo., the town that held the old record of 76 inches, set in April 1921.

That would cover a lot of bagels for Silver Lake’s lone resident.

“I hate to see the record broken,” said Craig Skye, who works for the Boulder water department.

While Montague celebrated, other areas suffered.

In Omaha, where temperatures were 10 degrees below zero, twin 3-year-old girls woke up before dawn and decided to go out to play.

Jennifer and Kourtney Woracek were found in a stupor early Friday, huddled together in an alley and wearing only pants and light shirts. One girl had lost both boots along the way; the other just one. Jennifer was unconscious; Kourtney was barely conscious.

They were hospitalized with severe frostbite and exposure--Jennifer in critical condition after heart and lung bypass surgery, Kourtney in serious condition.

The bitter cold seized much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation. It was minus 9 in Chicago at daybreak. Most schools were closed for a second day.

Lows fell into the teens as far south as the Florida Panhandle.