A blizzard kept much of Michigan immobilized yesterday, warm winds gusting to 140 mph damaged homes in Colorado and avalanches that may take days to clear closed interstate highways in the Pacific Northwest.
The Michigan blizzard, which set more records in the Snow Belt, spared Pontiac, where Super Bowl fans were oblivious to the storm.
Elsewhere, a surprise snowstorm that darted out of Canada at 60 mph quickly built drifts and closed off roads in central and western North Dakota, while temperatures dropped to 21 degrees in Minneapolis, which was digging out from under a record layer of 38.2 inches of snow.
Road crews and shovelers attempting to cut the snow down to size were hampered first by the wind and then by the cold.
National Guardsmen searched for farmhouses stranded in northwest Minnesota where five-foot drifts prevented ambulances from reaching a rural heart attack victim.
Guardsmen in heavy Army trucks looking for farmhouses cut off in the Polk County area said they found two families without electricity or telephone service.
Gov. Al Quie dispatched the Guard after Gerald Beiswenger, 41, died of an apparent heart attack Saturday. His wife called for help, but it reportedly took more than an hour for rescuers to reach the farmhouse--six miles west of Crookston. Three ambulances became stuck in snowdrifts on Route 2, the main highway in northwest Minnesota, trying to get to the house.
The blizzard that had swept out of the Rockies last week and spread up to 40 inches of snow across the Midwest had moved into Canada but was still punishing the Great Lakes region and northern New England with wind-blown snow.
At least 14 people have been killed in the storm.
With three-fourths of the United States covered with snow, subzero temperatures were posted across the upper Missouri River Valley to the upper Mississippi Valley and the western Great Lakes. Readings of 20 to 30 degrees below zero were seen across North Dakota and northern Minnesota.
Yesterday, warm "chinook" winds whipped through the foothills of northern Colorado, downing power lines, unroofing at least one house and damaging a mobile home north of Fort Collins.
More than four inches of rain in 24 hours melted the snowpack in parts of the Pacific Northwest, sending rivers over their banks.
In Washington state, travelers and truckers were stranded by an avalanche of mud, rocks and logs that blocked Interstate 90 at the Snoqualmie Pass about 50 miles east of Seattle. State police said the pass would be closed to normal traffic for four to five days.
The Stevens and White passes on other major east-west highways in Washington also were closed by avalanches over the weekend. Interstate 5, the main north-south highway in western Washington was closed in three places Saturday night by mudslides and water.
Officials in several Michigan counties declared states of emergency yesterday as the blizzard continued to pummel the Upper Peninsula and western parts of the Lower Peninsula.
By midnight Saturday, Muskegon, Mich., got 7.3 inches of new snow, bringing the total for the month to 89.3 inches, an all-time record for any one month. The previous record of 82.6 inches was set in 1963.