Image: Sunflowers blanketed in snow
Sunflower season came to an end Wednesday in Negaunee, Mich., and snow continued to fall in the Great Lakes region on Thursday.
updated 10/3/2003 4:39:15 AM ET 2003-10-03T08:39:15

Fall is less than two weeks old, but it almost felt like winter Thursday in parts of the Great Lakes region as snow fell and temperatures plunged as low as the teens and 20s. A bit more snow was expected early Friday, then a clearing before another cold front pushed into the Great Lakes region late in the afternoon.

IN WISCONSIN, the mercury fell to 13 Thursday in the north-central town of Phillips, and traces of snow fell as far south as Fond du Lac, some 60 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

Michigan was hard-hit with an overnight low of 23 degrees and 4 inches of snow since Wednesday in the Upper Peninsula town of Ironwood. One traffic death in the state was blamed on the weather.

Arctic air from northern Canada caused the mercury to dip about 15 degrees below normal, said Stan Levine, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo, N.Y.

In Batavia, 30 miles south of Rochester, N.Y., the chill couldn’t have come at a worse time. None of the seven new boilers at the high school was ready to provide heat yet.

“The plan was to have heat next week,” Superintendent Richard Stutzman said. He added: “Today was supposed to be Formal Thursday, but Student Council made it Snowsuit Thursday.”

It also snowed Thursday in Lake Placid, N.Y. Veterans Memorial Highway, which leads to Whiteface Mountain, was closed temporarily for a second day because of 2 inches of snow.

“At the going rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few weeks we have someone skiing the highway,” said Sandy Caligiore, a spokesman for the agency that runs the mountain.

In Ohio, three-tenths of an inch of snow fell Thursday at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, which ties the record for the date set in 1974. Farther south near Akron, roads iced over as temperatures reached 30 degrees, breaking the record of 31 degrees for the date set in 1975.

Western Pennsylvania also got sleet and slow in higher elevations. It was expected to taper off but temperatures were forecast to dip below freezing overnight, according to the weather service.

“It’s going to kill off all the more sensitive vegetation in western Pennsylvania,” said meteorologist Brad Rehak. “It’s the end of the growing season.”

© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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