The Minneapolis Journal, December 21, 1916, p. 1
COLDEST DAY CAR SCARCITY CURTAILS YULETIDE DINNERS.
Fresh Food, Holly and Mistletoe Held Up as Mercury Passes 24 Below.
YEAR'S SHORTEST DAY COOLEST OF ITS KIND.
Only 15 Subzero Promised Tomorrow, but New Blast Is Coming From West.
The northwest today faces a Christmas minus fresh vegetables, fruits, holly and mistletoe.
Because of the unprecedented December cold wave, shipments from Minneapolis and St. Paul of perishable goods by freight has been practically impossible. This, combined with the overtaxing of the express companies, not only means a cutting down of the Christmas dinner menu in every family in most northwest communities but, local commission men said today a loss to Minneapolis commission interests of from $100,000 to $125,000.
Jack Frost had his last chance to permit the usual bounteous Christmas repasts by relenting today. He refused and at 7 a. m. forced the mercury to the season's low record, 24.2 degrees below zero.
Some points nearby may be reached if it is possible to ship tomorrow and Saturday, dealers said, but these at best will be comparatively few.
Shipments Stopped Nine Days.
"WIth other commission houses, we supply the Dakotas, Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin with fruits and vegetables," said John Nehring, head of the shipping department of a large Minneapolis commission house.
"This year we will not supply them. Since Dec. 12 freight shipments have been at a standstill because of the weather. Hoping for a moderation in the temperature we have waited from day to day to ship.
"Despairing of our chances for freight shipments we tried expressing our goods. The trouble was that the mercury sank lower than ever and everyone else tried the same thing. The swamped express companies have been forced to refuse consignments. We are absolutely tied and today we were flooded with wires to ship at least a part of the stuff ordered.
Christmas Wreaths Scarce.
Minneapolis, while not destined to suffer from the lack of fruits and vegetables as are the outlying centers, has a dearth of holly and mistletoe. For this year's promised rarity of opportunities to indulge in the usual Yuletide under the mistletoe pleasures the weather man must be excused. Congested railroad traffic has held up these shipments until now a large part of the holly and mistletoe purchased by Minneapolis commission men now awaiting shipment out of Chicago and Memphis is a dead loss.
"Besides holly and mistletoe we have large shipments of western fruits which are being held up a dangerously long time," asserted F. A. McGillis, head of the receiving department of a large commission house. "Our business already has been cut down about $20,000 this season.
Today the embargoes on perishable goods by express companies were put in force by the Great Northern, Northern and Western express companies.
In severely limited amounts, shipments were accepted by the Adams, the American and Wells Fargo companies.
Is Coldest "Shortest" Day.
Today was colder than yesterday. With a temperature of 24.2 degrees below zero at 7 a.m., it came to within two and a fraction degrees of being the coldest December day since Minneapolis had a weather office. Today also was the coldest "shortest day in the year" on record. No other Dec. 21 in the last 36 years has even approached it.
The fraction by which today's morning temperature shaded yesterday's doesn't tell the whole story. Hour for hour during the night, it was several degrees colder than Wednesday, until the two records drew together at sunrise. Today's early temperatures were these:
Tomorrow will be "warmer," only 15 below in the early morning, moderating toward zero later. Saturday will be colder. Extreme weather is headed this way again from Edmonton, Alta., where it was 36 below today. Western North Dakota averages minus 30 today. "Generally fair tonight and Friday; not so cold," was the forecast given out by U. G. Purssell, weather bureau section director.
Cold weather put the weather bureau's Chicago wire out of commission today and reports from many parts of the country were not in. It was learned however, that at Concordia, Kan., a new December record was established, 14 below.
Postoffice work was again seriously interfered with by the cold. Trains from all directions due early today arrived about noon. Postal day crews have been converted into night crews because there is no morning work for them.
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