One warm word suits an icy week: Goodbye DEEP FREEZE '94

January 22, 1994|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,Staff Writer

One day during this week that wouldn't end, a red truck slid into Viola Koranteng's parked Oldsmobile and mangled the front bumper.

Ms. Koranteng, 32, chipping at the ice that still gripped her car yesterday, shook her head at the thought of the hit-and-run driver and at the ice and bitter cold that sentenced her and her three daughters to a week's imprisonment inside their home in the 600 block of N. Monroe St. in Baltimore.

"So, yeah," she said with the warmth of an icicle, "you could say I'm kind of sick of this week for sure."

She spoke for many of us. Ice, blackouts, nasty falls, ice, flat tires, frozen pipes, ice, wind chills, record lows, ice, school closings, dead batteries, ice, icy moods, cabin fever, ice.

We suffered them all. And the week hardly budged. It lasted a month, an entire season. It snowed and rained and spit and froze, and no matter how harshly we cursed and wanted it gone, it blustered and refused to go.

It became the week that wouldn't die.

"It was crazy," Ms. Koranteng said, recalling all the time she spent indoors with her daughters, ages 10, 9 and 7.

"They had the radio going. And they squabbled over their toys. But there was happiness in there, too. There were some smiles. But I'm ready for them to go back to school."

Regina Mejo shopped at the Giant in Reisterstown with her three children, ages 8, 6 and 3. It was her first day away from home this week.

"It was never-ending," she said. "And it was very boring. You couldn't get out. You couldn't go anywhere."

She and her husband, who works in Baltimore, moved to Felton, Pa., four years ago from Owings Mills. She was in Reisterstown yesterday to take her children to the doctor.

One day, she said, her husband bumped and swerved down the street on his way to work. He was so used to the icy ruts that until other motorists signaled, he had no idea he was driving on a flat tire.

Clyde Clemmons, 66, poured antifreeze into his 1987 Chrysler, which sat where it died Sunday in the 2100 block of Fulton Ave. in Baltimore.

"I tried during the week," he said, "but the temperature was so severe I couldn't work on it. . . . This is God's work. There's nothing we can do about it. But I am looking forward to a brighter day."

William Blagmond, 45, hobbled on a cane along Edmondson Avenue near Monroe Street. He needs the cane because he underwent back surgery in 1992, he said. But it also keeps him steady on the ice.

"I fell once this week, and if it hadn't been for the cane I'd have fallen a couple more times," he said. "Now I know why people go south for the winter."

The week was that wicked.

At Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the low of 3 Sunday tied the record for the date, and the low of 5 below zero Wednesday broke that date's record. In fact, Wednesday, with its high of 5 and low of 5 below, for a mean temperature of zero, was the coldest day ever recorded at the airport.

The frigid week began dying yesterday. The temperature reached 20 at noon, ending the second-longest streak of consecutive hours below 20 at the airport -- 77 hours, beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday. The record is 84 consecutive hours in January 1966.

The forecast calls for highs in the mid-30s to upper 30s today and tomorrow and highs in the 40s Monday through Wednesday.

Kevin Scritchfield of Glen Rock, Pa., summed it up after stopping for a doughnut and coffee at Donut World in Westminster. He and partner Jennifer Utz of Westminster are emergency medical technicians for Mason-Dixon Ambulance Service in Manchester in Carroll County.

They were at the end of a dismal week of carrying patients down icy steps and driveways and trying to keep them warm in the ambulance.

"All I can say is, thank God it's Friday," said Mr. Scritchfield, 24.

And with that, let us pronounce this intransigent week dead, finished, history. Pound the nails into the coffin. Then bury it deep.

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