First dose of winter

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

A cold blast of winter greeted area residents Monday only two days after temperatures reached 69 degrees for a high, tying a record set in 1973.

Monday's low temperature in Cape Girardeau was 31 degrees, with the wind chill in the mid-20s. It warmed to 41 degrees by midafternoon, the National Weather Service said.

"This is a good introduction to winter," said Ryan Presley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky. Slightly warmer temperatures are expected by midweek.

But with Christmas only a month away, it should be cold, Presley said.

"Today feels like Christmas to me," said Marty Fluegge as he stood bundled up in the shade of the entrance at Westfield Shoppingtown West Park. "I'm cold."

Hot coffee and long underwear couldn't keep the Cape Girardeau man warm as he rang the Salvation Army bell for donations.

Still, he said, the cold weather is good for the Salvation Army because more people throw change into the kettles.

At noon at the Town Plaza Shopping Center, Breita Church braved a stiff breeze as she and other volunteers stocked the Cape Girardeau Evening Optimist lot with Christmas trees from Nova Scotia.

"I'm freezing," she said. "When you get in the shade, it's a little cool."

But the weather didn't bother Ed Pullium of Anna, Ill., a former logger who spent the afternoon selling oranges, apples, grapefruit, onions, tomatoes and potatoes from the back of a trailer on the Town Plaza parking lot.

"You get used to it," he said.

Still, for many people, Monday's cold weather came as a shock after the weekend's unseasonably warm weather.

Saturday's high of 69 degrees was followed by a high on Sunday of 67 degrees, one degree below the 1968 record high.

Southeast Missouri State University used the mild weather to make repairs to the steam system at the campus power plant over the weekend.

The school had to shut off the steam Saturday and much of Sunday to perform the repairs, leaving campus buildings without heat and some residence halls without hot water.

Jim Daume, the school's associate director of facilities management, said the repairs leave the university's heating system ready for winter.

Temperatures were expected to drop into the mid-20s tonight, aided by a sagging jet stream that has pushed cold air from Canada into the region.

But the forecast is for slightly warmer temperatures and rain by midweek. Thanksgiving Day is forecast to be mostly sunny with a high in the 50s.

"We are looking pretty much at a high in the 50s for the rest of the week," said Presley, the meteorologist.

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