Pennsylvania Storm, Jan 1939
State Lashed; 5 Lose Lives; Trees Broken
(By the Associated Press)
Temperatures dipped to new lows for the winter in Pennsylvania to-day as high winds, sweeping down from the Great Lakes, subsided after causing widespread damage.
At least eight lives were claimed in accidents during the cold.
The mercury fell to three below at Raymilton, a Venango county village, and hovered around zero in the Bradford-Kane area.
The official reading in Philadelphia was 16, two degrees lower than the winter's previous low, last November.
Other minimum readings; Hazleton, 4; Pittsburgh, 8; York, 6; Franklin, 6; Erie, 12; Mercer, 4; Harrisburg, 13.
Snow in West
New snow fell over western Pennsylvania, bringing the total at Franklin to seven inches and 3.7 inches at Warren. The fall was lighter in southwestern counties. More was forecast throughout the state.
The wind scattered trees in the York area and drifted snow across highways.
Although temperatures rose slowly during the day, Pennsylvania got little comfort from a statement by J. B. Kincer, of the weather bureau in Washington, that this winter is following the general pattern of the last 20 years---milder weather, less snow and year-round temperatures above normal.
Philadelphia was plagued with fallen trees, snapped cables and sundry damage. Half of a large metal sign whipped loose and crashed upon an automobile, narrowly missing the driver. More than 500 telephones were out of order in the city and suburbs.
Hits Casket Factory
Harrisburg was similarly buffeted. Aside from knocking down chimneys, upsetting street lights and breaking windows, a 38-mile wind lifted a section of roof from a casket factory and blew it against a power line, shutting off electric service in one part of the city.
Responsible for the chill blasts, weather observers said, was an intense low pressure area, the center of which traveled from Lake Superior to Maine in a single day.
At least five lives were claimed in various accidents.
O. F. Russell, 58, and his wife Lillian, 57, perished in the flames that swept their tavern and roller skating rink near Butler. Nine-year old Lloyd Truett was crushed under the wheels of an automobile while sledding in Chambersburg. Herbert Hand, 50, was found dead on a highway in the vicinity of Philipsburg. Motor police said he was apparently struck by an automobile. Injuries received when her automobile crashed into a fence proved fatal for Dr. Margaret James, 37, Allentown physician.
John Ditter, 40, of New Castle, was found dead of exposure five days after disappearing from a Sewickley hospital---where he as a patient.
Christ Nixdorf, 75, was burned to death in Lancaster in a fire that firemen believed started from an overheated oil stove.
Edward Grabias, 13, was killed by a falling smokestack as he played around the ruins of a mill at Bethlehem.
The Gettysburg Times, Gettysburg, PA 23 Jan 1939