The weather outside yesterday was frightful from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Ore., with holiday shoppers shivering and stranded travelers hoping for the best as Christmas rapidly approached.
The little town of Eustis, Maine, got nearly 31/2 feet of snow.
In Marysville, Wash., north of Seattle, heavy snow collapsed part of the roof yesterday at the Whitley Evergreen factory, which makes modular buildings.
The 14.5-inch snowfall Sunday in Portland, Maine, surpassed the old Dec. 21 record of 12.4 inches, set in 1933. On the other side of the country, a total of 11 to 13 inches in Portland, Ore., was the biggest snowfall since January 1980. Depending on how much more fell yesterday as the snow trailed off, the storm could rank as one of the city's 10 worst on record.
"It is amazing," said Dave Thompson, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation. "You say to yourself: 'That's Portland?' The roads are snowpacked, covered with ice, and it's freezing rain."
Kim Osgood, who owns Paloma Clothing in the Hillsdale Shopping Center in southwest Portland, served hot cocoa Sunday and gave away $24 crampons - foot gear for ice and snow climbs - to anyone spending $50 in her store.
Temperatures in Chicago - hard hit over the weekend with subzero readings as winter officially began - were up to the single digits yesterday and could rise to the mid-20s today. But that should coincide with several inches of snowfall today and tomorrow, forecasters said.
Snowfall was relatively scant in the Midwest and East, but high winds whipped up snow along roads and, along with ice, made driving hazardous for travelers.
In western New York, a 134-mile stretch of the state Thruway between Rochester and Pennsylvania was closed for six hours overnight because of blowing snow. In Pittsburgh, schools were initially to open two hours late but were closed for the day instead because of below-zero wind chills.
The big snowfall in Maine was the result of a nor'easter.
Eustis in western Maine received a whopping 41.8 inches of snow by yesterday morning. Eric Schwibs from the National Weather Service called it "the sweet spot of the storm." For residents, however, it wasn't so sweet.
"It's beautiful, but it's a little crazy," said Linda Shane, who had to call for help when the snow jammed her car doors shut as she tried to get out of her driveway. Finally at her job at Camden National Bank, she looked out the window and said: "You can't see the gas station across the street."