Freeze slows some activities around area

Wednesday, February 27, 2002


By Bob Miller ~ Southeast Missourian

The impact of a 44-degree temperature swing across the region was not felt equally Tuesday.

For a few, it stopped school. But most just had to bundle up and bear it.

Wal-Mart cart pusher Nate Miller was comfortable working outdoors in shirtsleeves Monday as the temperature climbed to 58 degrees. But on Tuesday morning, a nearby bank sign read 22 degrees. There was a dusting of snow on the ground and patches of ice on the parking lot. A fierce wind whipped as sparse snow flakes flew horizontally.

According to the National Weather Service, it felt like 14 degrees -- 44 degrees colder than it felt at the same time the day before -- and Miller was dressed accordingly, wearing a heavy, hooded coat and gloves.

"Yesterday afternoon there was a drastic change in the temperature," he said. "And it was quick, too."

Dennis Sleighter, a meteorologist for the weather service, said that after a bitter Tuesday night, Southeast Missouri should experience a gradual warming trend. By Monday, the high temperatures should be back in the mid-50s.

But, he said, there is a possibility for either rain or snow on Friday and Saturday.

"The timing on the next system is questionable," he said.

The cold front on Monday brought rain initially. Then the rain turned briefly to sleet and then to snow.

Minor winter precipitation caused several schools north of Cape Girardeau to close for the day.

Perryville, Fredericktown and Meadow Heights all canceled classes.

Schools in Cape Girardeau, including Southeast Missouri State University, remained open.

'Not lucky'

As Southeast students trotted into buildings or onto shuttle buses, they shoved their hands deep into coat pockets and pulled their stocking caps over their ears.

Stephanie Duckworth, a senior psychology major, said she never even considered skipping her drive from Anna, Ill., for the day. She simply watched the weather updates and bundled up.

"The roads were pretty much cleared," she said. "I knew the classes wouldn't be canceled. I wouldn't be that lucky."

Blooms could be damaged

Prior to the cold front, many flowers had already blossomed.

"Those were from bulbs that were planted in the fall or are perennial plants," said Paul Schnare, owner of Sunny Hill Garden Center. "Daffodil's and Crocus were the only ones I saw. There may be a few forsythias blooming, but not too much of that."

Schnare said if the plant is in full bloom, the bloom may be lost for the rest of spring, but the cold weather will not kill the plant, he said.

"If the bloom is just partially open, chances are that it won't hurt it at all," he said.

Managing editor Heidi Hall contributed to this report.

335-6611, extension 127

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