Snow Sends Dozens To Shelters In Northern Mexico

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) - The coldest weather in 60 years blanketed the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez with snow Wednesday, forcing dozens of people into shelters and businesses to close as power failed in some areas.

Although the snow wasn't even ankle deep, it caused disruptions in a region unaccustomed to such weather. There were several road accidents, but no fatalities. The city's airport shut down for four hours, but bridges to El Paso stayed open.

Most of the city's maquiladoras - assembly plants that produce goods mainly for the U.S. market - businesses and banks closed. Blackouts also were reported.

The frigid weather was brought by the same storm system sweeping over nearly half the United States.

Temperatures fell below 9 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 13 Celsius), the lowest recorded since 1951, city Civil Protection Director Efrain Matamoros said.

Three shelters were filled to capacity in the city across from El Paso, Texas, Matamoros said. Those taking shelter included homeless people and families who live in rickety wooden shacks.

Gov. Cesar Duarte of Chihuahua state, where Ciudad Juarez is located, declared a state of alert across the state and urged people to stay home. Schools were closed across the state until further notice.

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